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Banksy makes offer to buy prison Oscar Wilde was in – RT UK News

Mysterious street artist Banksy has offered to raise £ 10million ($ 13.28million) to turn Reading Prison, where Oscar Wilde was held, into an arts hub, by selling a stencil used to paint a sketch on the building.

Reading Prison, opened in 1844 and closed in 2014, is currently on sale and a campaign has been launched to prevent it from being bought by property developers. However, an offer of £ 2.6million ($ 3.45million) from the Reading Borough Council was turned down earlier this year because it was too low.

In an effort to secure the funding needed to seal the purchase, anonymous street artist Banksy offered to sell a stencil that was used to paint a mural on the side of the prison in March, in the hope to raise £ 10million.

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Combined with the Reading Borough Council offer, the artist is hoping that £ 12.6million ($ 16.73million) would be enough to allow the prison to transform into an arts hub.

The prison held poet and playwright Oscar Wilde between 1895 and 1897 after he was convicted of gross indecency over an affair with a British aristocrat. While incarcerated, he wrote “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”.

Describing Wilde, Banksy called him “the patron saint of breaking two contrasting ideas together to create magic,” pretending that “Converting the place that destroyed it into a refuge for art is so perfect”.

Banksy’s stencil was on display in early December at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, as part of an exhibition by artist Grayson Perry for his Channel 4 television series.

Jason Brock, the head of the Reading Borough Council, backed Banksy’s offer, although he admitted that “no detailed discussions” took place between officials and representatives of the artist.


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