Anti-Olympic street art appears in Haggerston and Shoreditch

Two identical anti-Olympic themed pieces of street art have appeared in Haggerston and Shoreditch.

The works show a hooded figure in black and white running away with a red Olympic ring in its hand. The four remaining Olympic rings hang above.

One stencil is in Broadway Market on the side of Broadway Fish Bar. The other is on a metal garage door in Redchurch Street.

Speculation was rife over whether the images were Banksy’s latest works.

But Shoreditch-based artist and Pure Evil gallery owner Charley Edwards said he is behind the images.

“Whenever anyone sees a stencil in the streets of London they think it’s a Banksy,” he said. “I used the visual language of Banksy to get the image across, the immediacy.”

Mr Edwards said he created the image in August last year. It was reposted by a million people online.

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“I held back from doing anything more until a couple of weeks before the Olympics started.

“I went on a mission around central Hackney to find a good spot for it and I found the fish shop where Alex was kind enough to give me permission.”

He explained the message behind it: “I think people in Hackney feel a bit disenfranchised by the Olympics. It has been a bit of a party for the VIPs and we haven’t been invited and included.

“A lot of money has been spent and a lot of people have been moved out of the area but will it affect anyone in Hackney after it’s all over?”

He thinks the council is keen to remove his work: “I said to Alex ‘if you get any problems we will come with a pot of magnolia and paint over it’.”

Broadway Fish Bar owner Alex Shahin said he gave his permission for the piece.

“It’s such a nice picture and so many people like it.

“Its theme is the Olympics and I think it reflects the area really nicely.

“We really want to keep it if we can but the council might get rid of it. They came round and said because of the Olympics they have to find out if the symbols can be used.”

In the past Hackney Council has been proactive in removing street art, painting over many pieces in a borough-wide clean-up.

But a council spokesman said no action will be taken on the artwork unless there is a complaint.

He said: “We have met with the business owner and they want to keep it.

“The owner gave permission to the artist for the work to be there.”

He added they are aware of the second piece in Redchurch Street but are yet to determine whether it comes under their jurisdiction or Tower Hamlets’.

The artworks share their anti-Olympic vibe and characteristics with two Banksy stencils which the Bristol-based guerrilla street artist announced on his website a fortnight ago.

One depicts an athlete throwing a missile rather than a javelin. The other shows a pole-vaulter clearing a barbed wire fence and heading for a dirty mattress.

Speculation continues about whether the stencils are in Hackney.