A couple of days ago, a Banksy-esque artwork appeared on the wall of a former prison located in Reading, Berkshire, England, depicting a prisoner escaping over the wall with a typewriter. The Reading Gaol artwork is in fact Banksy’s.
The elusive artist claimed the artwork, which is titled “Create Escape,” by sharing a video on Instagram showing the process, intercut with clips of the American painter – and “king of the tingles” – Bob Ross.
HM Prison Reading, formerly known as Reading Gaol, is a significant site for the new artwork, as it famously held the poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, who was sentenced to two years after being accused of gross indecency in 1895. Wilde’s poem, Ballad of Reading Gaol, was written following his release, and campaigners are calling for the jail to be turned into an arts and culture center, instead of being sold for housing.
“We are thrilled that Banksy appears to have thrown his support behind the council’s desire to transform the vacant Reading Gaol into a beacon of arts, heritage and culture with this piece of artwork he has aptly called ‘Create Escape’,” expressed the Reading Borough Council, as it believes the artwork shows support for the campaign to save the site. “The council is pushing the Ministry of Justice, who own the site, to make suitable arrangements to protect the image.”