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UK street artist Banksy's famous balloon girl work to go on sale

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A photographer takes a picture of an artwork entitled 'Girl and Balloon' (Diptych) by Banksy, during a photocall at Christie's auction house in central London on October 1, 2021. AFP

UK street artist Banksy's famous balloon girl work to go on sale

A version of British graffiti artist Banksy's famous "Girl and Balloon" artwork was unveiled by Christie's as the highlight of the London auction house's upcoming sale.

The two-part or diptych canvas depicts a small child letting go of a heart-shaped red balloon and was painted by the elusive wall dauber in 2005.

It is expected to fetch up to £3.5 million (4 million euros, $4.7 million) when it goes on sale on October 15.

"Of course, Banksy is the king of the streets, he's almost a bit like the Robin Hood of the art world," Katharine Arnold, head of Post-War and Contemporary Art in Europe for Christie's, told AFP.

"Banksy used this image... outside a printing shop, it appeared on a wall, then a couple of years later, it appeared on the Southbank, another little girl with another balloon, and then in 2005, he created this diptych addition of works," she explained.

The girl with balloon has "become something of a leitmotif for Banksy and it's very very celebrated," added Arnold.

"I think after 18 months of long pandemic, really this sense of hope and aspiration that you have with this little girl letting go of the love into the world as she lets go of the balloon is what we absolutely need at this moment in time."

A Banksy canvas that was partially shredded moments after it sold at auction in 2018 is going back under the hammer on October 14.

Originally called "Girl with Balloon" but now entitled "Love is in the Bin", it is being offered for sale by Sotheby's, with a guide price of £4-6 million.

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