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Rumours abuzz over Toronto graffiti and whether it's the work of artist Banksy

The Show & Tell Gallery blogged about several supposed sightings of the artist's street work, posting photos of mostly black-and-white paintings apparently found hidden away in downtown back alleys.

TORONTO - It appears legendary British graffiti artist Banksy has left his mark on Toronto.

The Show & Tell Gallery blogged about several supposed sightings of the artist's street work, posting photos of mostly black-and-white paintings apparently found hidden away in downtown back alleys.

Distinctive for their satirical look at politics and culture, the pictures include a businessman with a sign around his neck that reads, "will work for idiots," and another businessman with a sign reading, "0% interest in people."

Show and Tell's director, Simon Cole, says he has it on good authority that Banksy did the work and notes that the pieces are full of the artist's hallmarks.

"They seem to be in typical Banksy style," says Cole, adding it's the first time he knows of the elusive artist tagging a Canadian city.

"Certain pieces that have appeared in Toronto have also appeared elsewhere as Banksy's. I know one of them has also appeared in San Francisco about a week or two ago, which has been confirmed as Banksy's, and I'm also pretty familiar with the quality of Toronto street art and these are better than most."

Little is known about the guerilla artist, but his paintings and prints command six-figure prices at auction. Although he's credited with innumerable rogue pieces around the world, he does not acknowledge the street art.

Attempts to reach Banksy or a spokesperson were unsuccessful but a Twitter account under Banksy's name posted photos to the images.

At least one of the paintings appears to be signed by Banksy. Another piece depicts a rat, a favoured image of the artist.

Their exact locations have not been revealed, partly out of fear the work could be destroyed, partly out of fear someone would try to lift the image. Cole said there's little chance that anyone could gain from stealing the work.

"A stolen piece of street art is probably not going to be authenticated so it's probably not worth anything but your time taking it," he says.

The pieces coincide with the release of a documentary film about street art, "Exit Through the Gift Shop." Banksy appears in the film in disguise.

 
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