Banksy print proves good investment

ABBIE NAPIER
Last updated 05:00 01/02/2014

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A Kiwi woman is poised to make a cool $200,000 from the sale of an original Banksy print she bought on the street for less than $75.

Arnika, who wanted her surname protected for fear of theft, landed in Christchurch yesterday to see her two Banksy canvases hung in the Canterbury Museum street art exhibition, Oi YOU! Presents RISE.

The exhibition includes 22 other original works by famous street artist, Banksy.

The works, Kids on Guns and Pooh Bear Trap, are worth a combined $380,000.

Now authenticated, framed, valued and insured, Arnika is selling Kids on Guns.

Some of the money will go to charity, some to a start-up business venture, and some to buy a much-needed washing machine and fridge.

In the meantime, both works hang in the museum alongside 22 other Banksy works for the public to enjoy.

She is planning to lend her favourite of the two, Pooh Bear Trap, to a permanent street art venue in Christchurch.

Arnika, now a Taranaki dairy farmer, bought the two canvases from a street stall vendor in New York in October.

She and her husband had been living and working in New York for about six months when they decided to move to New Zealand. When the time came to leave America, her husband and dog caught a morning flight, with Arnika to follow the next day.

"He'd just left, and I was in the apartment with the blow up mattress and a set of sheets," she said. "It was lonely so I went for a walk."

Having spent many mornings walking her dog around the city, Arnika took the same route through the 5th Avenue Central Park entrance where a regular market was set up. As she passed, she noticed a new stall manned by an elderly man selling street-art style prints.

"I knew in my gut something was up," Arnika said. "Those stalls never change."

She suspected the prints were by Banksy, but could have been knock-offs.

She asked the stall holder directly, and he confirmed they were authentic.

Arnika paid just US$60 for each print.

She is leaving the two prints with the RISE exhibition until March. Exhibition organiser George Shaw is handling the sale and will give his fee to charity.

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