Banksy designs t-shirt to help defendants overturning statues

LONDON – Hundreds of people lined up in the English city of Bristol on Saturday to get the latest work from the elusive street artist Banksy – a t-shirt created to help four defendants accused of overturning a local statue of a slave trader.

The gray shirt features the word Bristol above the empty plinth on which the statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston stood for a long time, with a rope hanging from it and scattered debris.

Anti-racist protesters shot down the statue and dumped it in Bristol harbor in June 2020 amid global protests sparked by the police killing of a black American, George Floyd.

Four people have been charged with criminal damages for the slaughter of the statue and will stand trial next week.

“I made some souvenir shirts to mark the occasion,” Banksy said on social media Friday. “Available in various outlets in the city from tomorrow. All the profits are returned to the defendants so that they can go and get a pint. “

Banksy said the t-shirts cost $ 33 and are limited to one per customer.

Banksy’s identity was never confirmed, but he started his career spray painting walls and bridges in Bristol, a port city in the southwest of England. Some of his works have sold for millions of dollars at auction.

Colston made his fortune transporting enslaved Africans across the Atlantic to the Americas on Bristol-based ships. He was a major benefactor of Bristol, with streets and institutions named after him – some of which have been renamed since the statue’s downing sparked debate over racism and historical commemoration.

City officials fished the Colston statue out of the harbor and said it would be placed in a museum, along with placards from the Black Lives Matter protest.

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