A Banksy was stolen this weekend and this time it’s not a publicity stunt or some type of weird conceptual art-experiment. Since last June, paintings attributed to the super-reclusive street artist Banksy have been popping up around Paris in tribute to those lost in the 2015 terrorist attacks across the French capital. One notable piece is a stark white and black stencil painted on one of the emergency doors of the Bataclan, the famed Parisian venue where 90 people were killed in one of the 2015 attacks.
According to a source close to the investigation, the art thieves apparently cut into the emergency door with angle grinders, removed the piece, and tossed it in the back of a truck, as reported by LCI television. The venue was justifiably upset, announcing the loss in a tweet.
If you don’t speak French, a shoddy Google translation of those first two paragraphs reads: “It is a deep indignation that drives us today. The work of Banksy, a symbol of meditation and recollection to all: locals, Parisians, citizens of the world, was taken away.”
The piece in question features a somber girl in mourning staring at the ground and was stenciled on the street-facing side of an emergency exit for the venue. It is one of Banksy’s more striking and affecting pieces, shedding the artist’s trademark prankster’s wit for something more direct.
It takes a special brand of soullessness to steal an art piece meant to memorialize a tragedy, and while the thieves likely intend to sell the work we wonder what type of awful person would buy it. Banksy has had pieces mistakingly painted over or destroyed in the past, but this loss surely stings more for everyone involved.