Two pieces of graffiti history have re-appeared at the Foundry building in Shoreditch. For years covered over with wooden hoardings, they are two Banksy’s which have been hidden from view. Only now revealed as the first stages of the demolition of the building takes place.
Showing a giant rat holding a knife and fork and a TV being thrown out of a window. The works date from 2004 when the Foundry was still at the centre of the graffiti scene in the area. Anyone familiar with Banksy’s work might well recognise them. They are iconic examples of Banksy’s work during that era.
Scheduled for re-development for some years now. The plan is to build an 18 storey supposed art hotel on the footprint of the old Foundry grounds. The Banksy murals are to be saved of course. Listed at the time of the planning consent to be included as part of the new construction. Commenting on the irony of saving his works and not the venue itself, Banksy said at the time, “It’s a bit like demolishing the Tate and preserving the Ice-Cream van outside.”
The Foundry building had for many years been a key part of the art scene of the area. Started in 1989 it had formerly been an old Barclays Bank. It would go on to become a community meeting point during a pivotal period in Shoreditch’s development. A place for artists in particular to meet it is said that over the years it hosting 2000 different art shows and 3500 different artists.
In the years since the closure the dynamic of the place has changed. Still allowing street art to be painted on the walls and within the courtyard, it has nonetheless been living on borrowed time. The Banksy murals themselves have been hidden under a wooden protective structure since 2007. The hotel, long slated for construction has been a slow burner with work only now looking like it’s about to begin.
Also on the back of the Foundry building, a work from Ben Eine. It states, in his identifiable circus typeface, ‘The Last Days of Shoreditch’. It’s a sentiment that has certainly been well prophesied.
The Foundry and the Banksy murals were visited on Sunday 12 May 2019. They can be seen through a gap in some of the fencing. For more articles on Banksy have a look here.