BANKSY’S Girl with Balloon has been recreated with a twist by a care home in Sheffield – winning an art competition among care homes across the north.
The original stencil mural by the graffiti artist showed a young girl reaching for a heart shaped balloon being carried away by the wind.
Instead of a child, the version created by The Laurels Care Home, on Manchester Road, featured 88-year-old resident Margaret Cowen in the same pose.
Staff and residents chose the image as the words “there is always hope” were scrawled near the original Banksy stencil, on Waterloo Bridge, in South Bank, London, which they felt was apt for the current worldwide fight against Covid-19.
The photo, taken in black and white by activities coordinator Kayleigh Ward, won first place and £150 in a competition organised by the Hill Care Group, which operates the home.
Kayleigh said: “It was so much fun working with residents to create the image. I was very pleased with the poignant image it created and was thrilled to win the competition and the prize funds, which will be spent on activities for the residents.”
Louise Spooner, home manager at The Laurels Care Home, said: “The team and residents brainstormed ideas around which images they could recreate, including from the war, the 1950s and 60s.
“It was a group decision between the residents and staff to do our version of Banksy’s Girl with Balloon, partly because of the words etched onto the wall where the mural first appeared.
““There is always hope” is something we should all remember during these difficult times, as we face rising infection rates in the UK and tighter lockdown restrictions.
“The photo brought a lump to my throat when I first saw it, as it’s so beautiful. It captures Margaret’s fun-loving nature really well. The rest of the residents loved Margaret’s recreation as no one wants to let go of a balloon.”
Hill Care operations director Mandy Vernon was on the judging panel for the competition, which involved the group’s 36 homes across the north.
She said: “We had fantastic entries from all our homes. The creativity on show was incredible, as works of art from all genres and ages were recreated. A lot of fun was had by residents and staff and it was difficult to pick a final winner.
“In the end, we chose The Laurels Care Home for their recreation of Banksy’s Girl with Balloon. We thought the photo was incredibly moving and the message behind it seems apt for these current times.
“Our congratulations go to the staff and residents as well as all those who entered and took part.”