By Sam Rkaina, Local Government Reporter
The famous artist’s Gorilla in a pink mask piece was a familiar sight in Fishponds Road for more than 10 years.
That was until the stencil was whitewashed over by the building owners because they didn’t know it was a Banksy.
To stop this happening again, Liberal Democrat councillors have called for local people’s help.
Steve Comer – the ward councillor for Eastville, the home of the missing Banksy – is hoping to create a register of public art works around the city.
He said: “Public art has become an important part of our lives in Bristol and, where possible, should be protected.
“It’s not the first time a mural like this one has been lost in this way.
“Neighbourhood Partnerships, or Forums, would give people in their areas the chance to identify what’s worth protecting locally.
“A register could then be compiled and published.
“It would have no statutory force, but we could insist council contractors consult the register and we could use it to advise others.”
Neighbourhood Partnerships are committees of local people and councillors for parts of the city, that are able to make decisions on certain issues like improving parks and traffic arrangements.
In some respects though, the idea of creating a permanent art register goes against the view of many graffiti artists that the work is transient and has a natural lifespan.
And this is not the first time someone has “damaged” a Bristol Banksy.
Two years ago his two best known pieces in the city were targeted by vandals who claimed he had become too much of an establishment figure.
The Mild Mild West in Stokes Croft and the hanging naked man in Park Street had red and blue paint over them.
Although attempts were made to clean them off, the Park Street piece still has blue paint splatters on it.
Councillor Guy Poultney, Lib Dem executive member for neighbourhoods at the city council, backed the idea.
He said: “In principle this sounds like an excellent idea. I hope to bring forward proposals later in the year.”
The councillors idea comes in the same week plans were announced for a major new street art project in Bristol.
See No Evil will see more than two dozen of the world’s biggest street artists come to the city in August, to paint many of the large, drab buildings in Nelson Street.
Organisers – which include Bristol street artist Inkie – hope it will become the city’s next big tourist attraction and capitalise on Bristol’s street art culture.