Last week, street artist and prankster Banksy officially unveiled an ambiguous stenciled road sign on Instagram. The road sign, which features two children carrying an elderly couple on their backs, was attached to a lamp post in the seaside town of Clevedon, southwest England.
The artwork was apparently gone by Friday, within 24 hours after being spotted.
The incident triggered conspiracy theories online, with some people believing that the elusive artist did it himself to grab the public spotlight.
He probably removed it himself to create attention!! Surely he’s not stupid enough to paint on a sign which can easily be removed 🙄 wonder where it’s going to reappear 🤔— ⅅℛᎯᎶᎾℕℱℒᎽ ⅅℰЅℐℛℰЅ (@dragonflydes81) 12 августа 2018 г.
I doubt it was stolen. Banksy probably didn’t even leave it there. He more than likely took it down after the picture was taken.— Matt Thomas (@MatthewThomas32) 12 августа 2018 г.
Was it really stupid? Now we have a new mystery of where it went, so more free publicity for the artist.— Fab Scarborough (@FabScarborough) 11 августа 2018 г.
Others contend that the graffiti being stolen was the whole point Banksy wanted to make.
Perhaps that was the point…— Benjamin Hale (@B_Halstrom) 11 августа 2018 г.
People are talking about it though…could all be part of the piece— kwirk (@Spacie44) 11 августа 2018 г.
Another theory ironically hints at Russian meddling.
It was the Russians!— Seema Thomas™ (@funky_seema) 11 августа 2018 г.
Around two months ago, Toronto police launched a probe into the alleged theft of Banksy's print "Trolley Hunters" from an exhibition, after viral surveillance footage emerged in which a man was filmed taking the picture off the wall and leaving the room.
Banksy, the anonymous world-famous graffiti artist, is thought to have grown up in Bristol. He began his career in the 1980s and has held high-profile exhibitions across the globe ever since. Probably best known for his mural art, he took a foray into the movie industry in 2010, directing a documentary entitled Exit Through the Gift Shop, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.