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Friday, 31 May, 2002, 13:18 GMT 14:18 UK
Artist throws anti-Jubilee party
Murals at Banksy street party
Banksy is known for his clandestine activities
One of the UK's most talked-about new artists has thrown an illicit street party centred around a giant portrait of the Queen as a chimpanzee he had painted on a wall.

Several hundred people turned up to the party, billed as Graffiti, Hostility and the Jubilee, thrown by subversive graffiti artist Banksy.

Banksy's books were sold by a woman dressed as Elizabeth I
Banksy's books were sold by a woman dressed as Elizabeth I
But plans for a more elaborate bash were foiled after police threatened to arrest organisers.

Banksy, who boasts of turning down offers of work from Nike, Microsoft and Coca-Cola, has become one of the most elusive but infamous artists in the UK with his politicised street art.

The party, in Southwark, central London, on Thursday, saw the giant portrait of the Queen stand alongside pictures of royal guards with their trousers down and rioting businessmen.

He had painted the murals before the party started - but disappeared by the time any of his fans or the police turned up.

Posters advertising the party, showing a policeman with his middle finger raised, told followers that details of the location would only be released on the day.

Banksy street party
Fans were only given two hours notice of the location
It passed off peacefully - but police threatened to make arrests if a sound system in the back of a van was switched on.

Banksy, 27, from Bristol, is now planning similar events in Hamburg, Los Angeles and New York.

The London party also saw woman dressed as Queen Elizabeth I selling copies of Banksy's new book, Existencilism.

It includes pictures of concentration camp victims wearing make-up and Queen Victoria sitting on a woman's face, as well as photos of his works in locations across the UK, United States and Europe.

His first book, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall, is reported to have sold 22,000 copies, while his works are said to fetch up to 10,000.

Banksy graffiti
Banksy: "If you don't like it, you can paint over it"
He says he would never show his work at the Tate Gallery, and has sprayed "Mind the crap" on the steps of the Tate Britain before the Turner Prize ceremony.

His stencil style has been echoed in ads by Nike, Lucozade and the Electoral Commission.

In a recent interview, he said: "Some people want to make the world a better place. I just wanna make the world a better-looking place. If you don't like it, you can paint over it."

The party followed a similar event at the start of May to launch an exhibition of alternative royal portraits, including Banksy's chimpanzee.

It also included work by the artist who created the Sex Pistols' God Save the Queen record cover, and saw a pinata - or model - of the Queen smashed to pieces.


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