Banksy has confirmed that he was the mastermind behind the Reading Prison graffiti piece. The artist took to Instagram to announce he was behind the artwork, with a video of the painting in action and a voiceover from Bob Ross.
The artwork in question depicts the writer, Oscar Wilde, escaping from the prison using a bedsheet fashioned into a rope, which is, in turn, is tied to a typewriter. Wilde was famously an inmate at the facility in the late 19th century for being Gay. The jail famously inspired the poem “Ballad of Reading Gaol”, which commented on the harshness of the Victorian penal system.
The prison has been abandoned since 2013 and was put up for sale in 2019. The Reading council are hoping to get funding to buy the prison and renovate it for a new Arts centre.
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