Streetwise art or 'sordid'? Your chance to buy a £5 Banksy on Saturday

Artworks by the UK street artist Banksy have sold for six figure sums at the world's top auction houses. But how do you fancy owning one of the anonymous art star's works for just £5...?

Although famous collectors of his paintings include Hollywood A-listers Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Banksy is keen to show that he hasn't lost touch with his roots. And he's doing so with his usual knack for self-promotion - a talent that easily matches Andy Warhol's.

The artist has released a series of limited edition works to raise funds after two street riots took place in the Stokes Croft district of his home city of Bristol, UK, last month.

The first riot followed a police raid on a local squat. Violence later arose stemming from negative reactions to a recently opened Tesco's supermarket in the area.

According to reports, the police raids followed suspicions that the squat's residents were planning to petrol bomb the Tesco supermarket. The store has since closed after being severely damaged during the riots. Windows of local independent businesses were also smashed.

Banksy's artwork for Greenpeace, sold for £78,000 ($122,098) in January

Never one to shy away from controversy, Banksy's new limited edition prints depict a petrol bomb made from a bottle bearing the trademark Tesco blue and white label.

The label reads "Tesco value petrol bomb", in reference to the range of budget "value" products sold by supermarket giant which are marked with similar labels.

The artist describes his piece as "a fine commemorative souvenir poster." They are listed on the artist's official website which confirms they are genuine.

Funds made from sales of the limited edition works will be donated to "local groups in the Stokes Croft/Bristol area who support local art, squatting and those arrested and harassed as a result of the recent Stokes Croft disturbances."

Banksy's 'Tesco value petrol bomb',
as featured on his commemorative
souvenir poster

That's according to the website of the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair, the local book shop which will be exclusively selling the works this Saturday (May 7).

More than 30 people were arrested by police following the second of the two riots which took place on the night of March 28.

Not surprisingly, the works have drawn critics. Some suggest that the works are "irresponsible" and could encourage further violence.

"What a sad, sordid way to thank Bristol for providing this talented, privileged but misguided young man with a springboard for his career as a graffiti artist," said city council leader Barbara Janke, as quoted by local newspaper the Bristol Evening Post.

"This city has long been proud of his work, but the decent citizens of Bristol have been disgusted with the violence and intimidatory tactics of the recent rioters."

Politics aside, the sale offers a one-off opportunity for entry-level buyers to acquire Banksy's works. Due to the prints' limited number and contentious nature, they could be likely to gain value as collectible investments in future years.

It might be fair to call this an "instant collectible" - although there has been no official word on exactly how limited the posters are.

Because the artworks are being sold exclusively by a tiny shop in Stokes Croft, this Saturday could be very interesting - as long as the rush to buy the new Banksys doesn't result in another riot.

Dubbed the 'cultural quarter' of Bristol, a number of impressive graffiti works decorate Stokes Croft's landscape. This includes a few works sprayed by Banksy himself among numerous "No Tesco in Stokes Croft" slogans.

Outside local bar The Canteen, passers-by can see an original Banksy painting of a teddy bear throwing a Molotov cocktail bomb at police officers.


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