Elusive artist Banksy has created a festive piece of artwork in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.
Located on Vyse Street, opposite Pete Smith’s jewellery studio and workshop, the new mural by Banksy highlights homelessness this Christmas.
In a video posted to Banksy’s Instagram page, a homeless man named Ryan can be seen having a drink before settling down on a bench with his belongings.
As the camera pans outwards, a pair of reindeers can be seen painted next to the bench on a brick wall in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, appearing to carry him away into the star-filled sky.
Unveiling the work, Banksy praised the generosity of people who gave Ryan food and drink while they filmed.
The post said: “God bless Birmingham. In the 20 minutes we filmed Ryan on this bench passers-by gave him a hot drink, two chocolate bars and a lighter – without him ever asking for anything.”
Pete Smith’s jewellery studio and workshop Vault 88 is located on Vyse Street, opposite the artwork.
He saw it when he arrived for work and said it had been attracting a lot of attention since the Instagram post.
“The world and his mother is outside,” the jeweller told the BBC. “There’s been people taking pictures of themselves on the bench. It’s brilliant. It’s very, very clever.”
He added the artist’s praise was “good for Brummies”, and showed “they care”.
Despite attracting lots of well-meaning visitors, within hours of Banksy posting the video online, the work was defaced by a vandal who sprayed red noses on the reindeer.
Luke Crane from the Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement District says it was now a priority to protect the artwork.
“We are very keen to make sure it is a part of our community and not something that is taken away,” he told the BBC.
“I think it comes at a great time of year – we obviously didn’t know it was coming, but what a great time.
“And it’s obviously about giving at a time of need for the homelessness that we have in these areas, and it’s something that we’ve been working in partnership with the council and other organisations to try and tackle, so it’s great to see it in our area.”
The video of the artwork has been viewed over 2.5 million times on social media.