Gaza family 'duped' into selling valuable Banksy art

Homeless family says they were tricked into parting with graffiti by world-renowned artist for less than $200.

    Gaza family 'duped' into selling valuable Banksy art
    The graffiti shows Greek goddess Niobe weeping on the metal doorway which was all that remained standing of the Hamduna family home [AFP]

    A work by world-renowned graffiti artist Banksy has been sold for less than $200 in war-ravaged Gaza, where a homeless family says they were "tricked" into parting with the valuable collector's item.

    At the end of February, the artist, who chooses to remain anonymous, released an online video showing three works he painted on walls of homes in the Gaza Strip destroyed in Israeli air strikes.

    Barely a month later in the impoverished Palestinian enclave, one of them changed hands for $180 - a trifle for the work of an artist who can raise more than $1m at arts auctions.

    The graffiti shows Greek goddess Niobe weeping on the metal doorway which was all that remained standing of the Hamduna family home.

    Rabieh Hamduna, 33, told the AFP news agency how he was approached by a young man who gave his name as "Bilal Khaled" claiming to be a news agency photographer and journalist.

    "He said it was his agency that had painted the graffiti on the door and other doors, and that they now wanted to recover them," Hamduna said.

    "He gave me 700 shekels ($180) and went off with the door."

    Hamduna said: "He tricked me. I didn't know the graffiti was valuable. My house was destroyed and now I have to pay rent. I need the money and so I agreed to sell the door."

    Hamduna said he wants the art back - not to sell it, but to put it on display.

    "I want to exhibit it so that the whole world sees our suffering, like the artist wanted when he painted it," she said.

    Palestinian activists on social media have launched a campaign against Bilal Khaled, identifying him as a freelance journalist who has worked for a Turkish news agency.

    SOURCE: AFP


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