Just 48 hours after it appeared in Bristol, England,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 rented 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. The family that owns the home has since covered up the mural to protect it.
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.
Kelly Woodruff, whose family owns the property the artwork was painted on, told BBC News that flowers which had been placed on the road as part of the artwork were missing. She said that her family is "devastated."
"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."
On Sunday, Woodruff told The Associated Press they have added temporary fencing and installed closed-circuit television cameras.
"Due to the mindless vandalism to the artwork, the family have taken the very difficult decision to cover the artwork to try to protect it," Woodruff said. "All measures are temporary and we ask that the public are patient while we work out the best way to clean the damage, restore and protect it for the future, so everyone can enjoy Banksy's work."
Banksy is known for more controversial pieces, most recently including a "modified" scene in Bethlehem, a holiday mural homelessness and a of British lawmakers as chimps.