ROME (Reuters) – Italy returned to France on Tuesday a mural painted by British street artist Banksy which was stolen from the Bataclan theater in Paris, where Islamist activists killed dozens of people in a attack in November 2015.
In June 2018, Banksy created a mural of a female figure veiled in a sad pose on an emergency exit door of the concert hall where 90 people were killed in one of the coordinated attacks that left 130 dead in the French capital.
The door, stolen in January 2019, was found last month on a farm by Italian police and handed over to the French ambassador in Rome during France’s most important national holiday, on July 14.
“It is a very moving moment to come back to this door during our national holiday … it was the witness of the massacre that claimed the lives of 90 people,” said French Ambassador to Rome Christian Masset during a ceremony at the embassy.
“Many people in the audience escaped through this emergency door. He lived, heard and saw the whole massacre, ”he added.
Banksy, whose true identity is unknown, has become one of the best known figures on the modern art scene with a series of works inspired in public places that combine the techniques of street art with current themes.
Last month, he released a new work of art online as people around the world protested the murder of George Floyd, the black American who died in Minneapolis after a policeman knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes when he detained him on May 25.
Banksy posted to his Instagram account on Tuesday a video of a new work of art installed in an underground train in London called “If you don’t hide – you don’t get” showing a sneezing rat.
Report by Yara Nardi; written by Angelo Amante, edited by Gavin Jones and Alexandra Hudson
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