The donation was made public on 4 December at an exhibition curated by Grayson Perry at Bristol Museum. Banksy contributes with the original stencil to the piece he did on the wall of the Reading GAOL prison in March 2021. The idea is that Reading Council now sells the stencil and uses the proceeds to turn the derelict prison into a permanent art centre. It’s expected to fetch up to GBP 10 mn in a private sale.
In Banksy’s own words:
“I had very little interest in Reading until I was on a rail replacement bus service that went past the jail. It’s rare to find an uninterrupted 500m-long paintable surface slap bang in the middle of a town; I literally clambered over the passenger next to me to get a closer look. I promised myself I’d paint the wall even before I knew what it was. I’m passionate about it now, though. Oscar Wilde is the patron saint of smashing two contrasting ideas together to create magic. Converting the place that destroyed him into a refuge for art feels so perfect we have to do it.”