LONDON: Banksy, that ghostly, creative, and amazingly talented graffiti artist has done it again. No sooner was his famous Girl With A Red Balloon auctioned for one million pounds at Sotheby’s that it self destructed. In that a shredder concealed within---as Banksy later confirmed through a video---ripped the artwork into shreds as the gathering first gasped in disbelief and shock, and then cries “It’s so cool” could be heard above the din.

The Girl with the Red Balloon is one of Banksy’s most famous works, acclaimed as one his “most beautiful”. More so as it represents hope, appearing as mysteriously as most of his artwork does, on the wall that the Israeli’s had constructed to further imprison the Palestinians. In 2006 Banksy is known to have visited the wall, and this painting is amongst others that appeared on the wall as a sign of protest, resistance, and of course hope.

The image has been in wide circulation since. And made it to Sotheby’s in London just yesterday where it was auctioned for a million pounds. Shortly after it shredded itself Bansky---whose identity remains unknown-- released a video clip showing a hooded figure inserting a shredder into the frame of the artwork. And then a caption says that this was done, “in case it was ever put up for auction.” It is still unclear how the shredder was activated, amidst speculation that Banksy was in the Sothebys auction as part of the crowd.

BBC recorded it as such:

"It appears we just got Banksy-ed," said Alex Branczik, Sotheby's senior director and head of contemporary art in Europe. The artwork had been sold for 1.04 million pounds. However, after the dramatic shredding the value of the Girl With the Red Balloon is said to have spiked within minutes. It is not clear who had bought the artwork, as his or her identity has not been disclosed by Sotheby’s.

BBC quoted Johnd Brandeler, director of Brandler Art Galleries as describing Bansky as “the ultimate publicity artist” and the stunt as “absolutely brilliant.”

Bansky, an enigma in the art world for decades now, is based in England, some say initially in Bristol. His works have been featured on streets, walls, bridges of cities across the world. He himself does not sell his art, and the Sotheby’s auction was thus unique in itself. Banksy has managed to remain anonymous, with speculation unable to turn into confirmation.

This is Girl With The Red Balloon outside the hallowed corridors of Sotheby’s in the original form that brought it fame and applause:

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