Film suggests that Banksy’s elephant DID bring misery to a homeless man
In March, I wrote about the strange history of a water-tank by the Pacific Coast Highway in Los Angeles which had been jollified by the street artist Banksy during a recent visit to Southern California, with the words “this looks a bit like an elephant.”
The piece (read it here) told how the tank had at one time been the home of a local homeless man, Tachowa Covington. Since Banksy has previously used elephants as a metaphor for poverty, this suggested that the slogan was intended as canny social commentary as well as a mere visual pun.
But here’s where things get murkier. When I wrote the article, an organisation called Mint Currency had just purchased the water tank, in somewhat dubious circumstances, and shipped it to a secure warehouse across town. They were (and still are) offering it for sale at the site www.banksyelephant.com.
Some therefore wondered if Banksy’s piece and the tank’s subsequent removal, had left the homeless man without a roof over his head. When I raised this question with one of Mint Currency’s partners, Tavia D, she was vehement in her denial – suggesting that Covington had been perfectly happy that they’d taken it away.
“People who do not know the real story are saying that we evicted this man,” she said. “It’s just not true. He’s not lived there since September. In fact, he came down to see us when we were there moving the tank, and told us that he was now living in a cave in the canyon just above it.”
At the time, I was happy to take Ms D at her word. But this week, one Zack Skelly got in touch. A street art enthusiast, who was there when the water tank was removed on March 3rd, he shot video footage of its removal. And it appears to tell a very different story.
Mr Skelly’s videos show Mr Covington describing the people who are removing the tank as “spiteful and evil.” He adds that they “outfoxed” him, saying: “if I’d kept my mouth shut about this tank [one assumes to Banksy], it’d have been here forever.”
You can watch one of Mr Skelly’s clips above. Or see all his footage here (in three separate clips). The sound quality isn’t great, so it’s best to wear headphones. And it’s difficult to draw concrete conclusions from wartching them. But at the very least, they add another layer of intrigue to an already colourful tale.Tagged in: BS, LA life
Recent Posts on Arts
- Black Peaks Interview: “I was in Lidl looking at potatoes when Zane Lowe called”
- Scottish Book Trust Ask the Author: Cathy MacPhail's
- Lost in the Riots Interview: ‘If you’d told us we’d be going to Europe with this band four times, we would've told you to bugger off!’
- Scottish Book Trust’s Children’s Book Blog
- Friday Book Design Blog: ABCD awards 2015
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter