Exclusive Banksy exhibition in Nelson

Last updated 13:00 17/02/2011

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A never-before-exhibited collection of works by an underground cult hero, British graffiti artist Banksy, will deck Nelson's old gasworks later this year.

The collection is owned by Nelson resident George Shaw who became a Banksy collector seven years ago.

Banksy's satirical street art combines irreverent dark humour and political and social commentary with distinctive graffiti that features on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world.

Despite the global fame of his work, the identity of Banksy remains unconfirmed.

Mr Shaw said he had built a rapport with Banksy's management over the last seven years, and gathered a collection of 23 pieces – originals and limited-edition prints – that will make the core of October's Oi You! exhibition at Nelson's Founders Heritage Park.

Mr Shaw is banking that Oi You! will attract thousands of visitors to Nelson and give Rugby World Cup media an alternative focus.

"It's going to show the world that New Zealand is about more than rugby and scenery – it's also about cutting-edge world pop culture," he said.

Mr Shaw said Banksy was the most talked about artist on the planet.

"His film Exit Through The Gift Shop gained a cult following, he was nominated for an Oscar and his art is collected by the world's rich and famous."

But it is outside the world of galleries and art exhibitions and on the street that Banksy is best known, said Mr Shaw. The best of Kiwi urban art will feature alongside that of Banksy. Oi You! will be held at the Energy Centre from September 23 to October 24.

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- The Nelson Mail

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