Banksy’s Valentine’s Day mural has already been vandalized

Just 48 hours after it appeared in Bristol, England, Banksy’s latest mural has been vandalized. The elusive British street artist confirmed the piece belonged to him on Instagram on Friday.

The mural features a young girl using a slingshot to playfully fire red flowers into the air. It was spotted on the side of a house in Bristol on Thursday, and Banksy posted a picture of it on Instagram early on Valentine’s Day to claim it as his own. 

Saturday, an offensive phrase appeared scrawled across the artist’s work in bold pink letters. 

According to BBC News, a plastic panel meant to protect the mural was also torn down, allowing the vandals to directly deface the piece. 

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Kelly Woodruff, whose family owns the property the artwork was painted on, told BBC News flowers that had been placed on the road as part of the artwork were missing. She said that her family is “devastated” and is working to protect the artwork from further harm. 

“It is so sad. They have taken the joy away from everyone,” she said. “We want this to be available to everyone for years to come and for as many people as possible to come along to take a look and enjoy it.”

Banksy is known for more controversial pieces, most recently including a “modified Nativity” scene in Bethlehem, a holiday mural highlighting homelessness and a painting of British lawmakers as chimps.