The street artist confirmed they were behind the artwork, which was discovered on the side of a wall in Margate, by sharing a series of photos of the piece on their Instagram on Tuesday.
Titled Valentine’s Day Mascara, the original piece depicted a 1950s housewife wearing a blue pinny and yellow washing-up gloves with a swollen eye and a missing tooth seemingly shoving her male partner into a chest freezer.
Banksy | Valentine’s Day Macara 2023
The resident of the property where the painting was created, who asked not to be named, told PA that the freezer and other items including a broken garden chair used for the artwork had been removed “very quickly” and put into a truck at midday on Tuesday.
Discussing how she felt about the removal, the tenant said: “I’m absolutely upset because it’s not really nice. It was part of the art, they should be very happy because Margate could get bigger attention, positive attention.
“Why did they move those parts? It’s just silly.”
She claimed she asked the people who removed the items why they were doing so and they replied: “Someone told them on the council, they are just doing the task, it’s not their idea but they must do it.”
She added: “Earlier, no-one was interested if the rubbish was on the street. I mean, they were, but not that quickly.
“Even if you report something to them about taking the rubbish, they are acting one or two weeks later, not immediately.”
The tenant also said her landlady had tried to send people to guard the artwork but they were unable to do so before the pieces were removed.
In a series of photographs posted on Banksy’s Instagram account, the street artist captioned the piece “Valentine’s day mascara” and zoomed in twice to show a close-up of the woman’s smiling but seemingly battered face.
Speculation about the post has suggested the Bristol-born artist is referencing fighting violence against women on Valentine’s Day.
In December, the anonymous graffiti artist announced they had created 50 screenprints which would be sold to raise funds for a charity supporting the people of Ukraine.
Banksy previously confirmed they had spent time in Ukraine after posting a video of an artist spray-painting designs in the war-torn country and speaking to locals.
Thanet District Council has been approached for comment.