Lonely Planet Writer

Workmen accidentally paint over Banksy artwork at a Jamaican celebrity resort

In what has proven to be a costly and embarrassing blunder, hotel builders recently painted over millions of pounds worth of artist Banksy’s artwork at a five-star resort in Jamaica, presuming it was graffiti.

Builders accidentally painted over Banksy artwork at a five-star celebrity resort in Jamaica. Image: Geejam
Builders accidentally painted over a Banksy artwork at a five-star celebrity resort in Jamaica. Image: Geejam

The incident occurred at Geejam, a luxury seven-room resort in the Port Antonio region frequented by celebrities like Grace Jones, Gwen Stefani, Tom Cruise, Sharon Stone and Katy Perry.

Builders accidentally painted over Banksy artwork at a five-star celebrity resort in Jamaica. Image: Geejam
Builders accidentally painted over a Banksy artwork at a five-star celebrity resort in Jamaica. Image: Geejam

It is owned by British music industry executive, Jon Baker, who is a friend of elusive Bristol-born artist Banksy, who recently opened a hotel himself in Jerusalem. Banksy has become the most famous graffiti artist in the world, but he never reveals his true identity.

Builders accidentally painted over Banksy artwork at a five-star celebrity resort in Jamaica. Image: Geejam
Builders accidentally painted over a Banksy artwork at a five-star celebrity resort in Jamaica. Image: Geejam

When he stayed at the resort in 2006, Banksy painted 11 of his signature stencilled rats throughout the hotel as a gift. However, workmen freshening up the hotel assumed the artwork was graffiti and they painted over five original stencils on the outside of the building.

Builders accidentally painted over Banksy artwork at a five-star celebrity resort in Jamaica. Image: Geejam
Builders accidentally painted over Banksy artwork at a five-star celebrity resort in Jamaica. Image: Geejam

They used two thick coats of white paint, and the cost to remove it could be as much as £120,000, but even at that, there is no guarantee that the artwork can ever be returned to its original splendour.

Builders accidentally painted over Banksy artwork at a five-star celebrity resort in Jamaica. Image: Geejam
Builders accidentally painted over a Banksy artwork at a five-star celebrity resort in Jamaica. Image: Geejam

Naturally both the workmen and the hotel owner have been left highly embarrassed by the incident, which will also come as a disappointment to guests as the rats were highly popular at the resort. Might be time for a return trip to enjoy some Caribbean sunshine, Banksy!

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