Banksy has confirmed a painting of an inmate escaping from a former jail that once housed playwright Oscar Wilde is his work.
The elusive street artist confirmed the artwork was his via a video posted to his Instagram account on Thursday in which he spoofs popular US TV art instructor Bob Ross.
In the footage, Banksy is shown stealthily executing the work entitled Create Escape on the outside wall of Reading Prison at night.
After Ross introduces one of his shows, the rest of the video is Banksy, but with Ross’s narration, making it appear as if the two are meant to go together.
The artwork shows an inmate escaping using a knotted spool of paper from a typewriter.
The jail, which closed to prisoners in 2013, is where Oscar Wilde served two years’ hard labour for “gross indecency”.
Wilde was sent to the jail in 1895 following a retrial and later wrote his final published work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, highlighting the need for reform of inhumane conditions.
A piece by the grafitti artist, called Aachoo!!, was discovered on the wall of a house in Bristol in December.
It depicts a pensioner in a headscarf sneezing and her dentures shooting out of her mouth.
Two months before, a tongue-in-cheek artwork appeared on a brick wall on the side of a beauty parlour at the corner of Rothesay Avenue and Ilkeston Road in Lenton, Nottingham.
The mural of a little girl hula hooping with what appears to be a bicycle tyre was painted next to a battered bike with a missing wheel chained to a lamp post.
In July last year, Banksy’s artwork inside a London Underground train carriage, with messages about the spread of coronavirus, was mistakenly removed by Transport for London (TfL).
Reading Prison’s future is currently the focus of fierce debate, with the Ministry of Justice, which owns the building, due to decide by 15 March whether it will be turned into an arts venue.
If the bid by Reading Borough Council is unsuccessful, the Grade II listed site could be sold to property developers.