Good morning and good night: a new work by the anonymous artist Banksy, titled Morning is Broken, has appeared in the southern English county of Kent—and has already been demolished. The mural, depicting a person and a cat that are pushing back corrugated iron curtains, was painted on a boarded-up window of a derelict 500-year-old farmhouse on Blacksole Farm in Herne Bay, according to local news outlet Kent Online. Banksy confirmed its authenticity in an Instagram post today (15 March) that showed both the finished work and its destruction at the hands of construction workers.
The workmen told Kent Online that they "felt sick" upon discovering that they had destroyed a genuine Banksy work. The builders have now managed to pull out the remains of the piece from the rubble. Adam Brooks, a local Banksy fan who saw the news and visited the site, described the emerging fragments as akin to seeing "the holy grail coming out of a skip".
Morning is Broken is the second work authenticated by Banksy this year on his Instagram account, with both located in Kent. The previous work, announced by the artist on Valentine's Day, took a stand against domestic violence. It showed a woman in a 1950s-style gingham checked dress with a bruised eye who appears to have just disposed of her abusive partner inside a large chest freezer. Located in Margate, that work was dismantled by the local council—removing the freezer, a broken chair and an empty beer bottle—“on the grounds of safety” just hours after its unveiling. The freezer was later returned by the authorities but the whole installation is now being dismantled and relocated to Dreamland, a nearby amusement park, where it will be on view for free, according to the local news outlet Kent Live.
Banksy is known for the political and social messages that inspire his works. The artist even travelled to Ukraine last year to make images inspired by the Russian invasion, and subsequently created a series of prints to raise money for Ukraine's relief effort.
So what's the message with his latest work? "I think he must have wanted it to be destroyed because he usually posts his work if he wants people to see it," says Brooks. He described how the builders had told him they had spotted a man in black taking photographs of the site but thought nothing of it. "He has obviously been hanging around for it to be demolished," Brooks says.
Perhaps after seeing so many of his works dismantled and commodified—Banksy's street works have sold for millions on the open market for no personal monetary gain—the artist is relishing in seeing the panic that ensues when a piece is unknowingly destroyed. As Kent Online's Facebook post reads: "Think how much it could have sold for".