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All your Bagsy are belong to us
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Image by Alan Stanton
21 October 2013. Here’s the wall on which Bagsy – Tottenham’s sacchetti genius – may have stencil-sprayed an affectionate "homage" to his fellow artist, Banksy.

Bagsy never publicly claimed authorship of "No Ball Games". But he often left his signature rubbish bags nearby. So it’s clear that his aim was to copy Banksy’s style; to rip-off his idea; and generously give the sprightlier sprayer a higher profile among Tottenham’s cognoscenti.

As a result, during four tumultuous years, tens of thousands of busloads of visitors have driven up and down High Road Tottenham and ignored the Bagsy.

Then in July 2013 the wall stencil vanished.

The Sincura Group

As the BBC reported, the stencilled image was removed by the Sincura Group.

In their own words – and I’m really not making this up – Sincura explained that they had "salvaged" … the "beautiful piece" … following attempts to vandalise it. And also because of: "extensive building works taking place in the local vicinity, and further concerns upon its safety".

If you type the Japanese word "Sincura" into Google Translate you would learn, reassuringly, that 新蔵 means "a new storehouse". Also on its website the Sincura Group further assures us that:

"We are art lovers first and foremost and believe Banksy’s work is a gift to the community and should remain on view to be appreciated by the community."
"If assigned to manage a piece of art we ensure the salvage, restoration and sale is carried out in a professional and apathetic manner."

Sincura – motto: "Your gateway to a VIP life" – describes itself as a "multi-award winning" company. Explaining that it has "clients worldwide" and that: "we pride ourselves in what we do"

Selling Bagsy; A Special Challenge

Sincura described themselves as: "the market leaders in VIP concierge, lifestyle, tickets and events through our London office and internationally". Even so, my guess is that selling any art by Bagsy is a special, if not impossible challenge. Not least because he generously leaves his unique "pieces" in public places across Tottenham; free to anyone to help themselves and make them a talked-about centrepiece of corporate headquarters – as well as in humble homes.

So it was enormously helpful that this was the second time stencilled graffiti were hacked from a Haringey wall. In February 2013 the Sincura Group were also involved in the removal of the Banksy’s stencil "Slave Labour", from the side of Poundland store in Wood Green. It was later auctioned.

No less a personage than Councillor Claire Kober, Leader of Haringey Council criticised the previous removal of Banksy’s "Slave Labour" stencil. Our borough’s Dear Leader pontificated that such graffiti "belong to the community". Similar absurd and empty posturing came from Haringey "cabinet" councillor Alan Strickland. He told The Guardian that: "Officials at the local authority have held talks with the Arts Council about whether the art work was exported ‘appropriately’."

The former local Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament, Lynne Featherstone also jumped on the bandwagon. At one point announcing portentously that she was "… doing all I can to investigate".

Which was never going to affect the outcome, of course. But that wasn’t the aim of the PR game being played out. Populist outrage got mediocrities Kober and Strickland national media coverage. It also helped to whip-up free international publicity for Banksy, increasing his notoriety and perhaps the market prices of his work.

This publicity also benefited Sincura. It let them turn involvement in hacking graffiti from the side walls of shops, into a project by art lovers; ensuring that each of these "pieces" are: "… removed to be sensitively restored to its former glory."

Sincura promised that all proceeds from "No Ball Games" would be donated to a local charity. Originally this was planned to follow an auction of artwork attributed to Banksy on 1 March 2014; preceded for a few days by a public exhibition of the works called "Stealing Banksy?". The Sincura website also mentioned an "upcoming documentary".

Update – please scroll down.

§ Aerial view of the location of the photos on this page.
§ A couple of people asked about the peculiar title of the photo on this page. It was supposed to be a joke based on the Google translation of Sincura into the Japanese 新蔵.

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