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Test Valley Borough Council acts swiftly to protect Andover street art

An unusual piece of street art that appeared in Andover Town Centre on Tuesday (4 July) morning has been protected by Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC).

The work, which depicts a policeman interacting with a teddy bear, appears to be done by an artist known as ‘Hendog’, whose style is similar to that of the street artist known as Banksy. It is believed to be part of a series of pieces, with similar artworks appearing in Guildford and Camberley.

The piece appeared on Chantry Street in the early hours of Tuesday morning and has since gained lots of social media attention, with many residents asking for the artwork to stay.

TVBC has responded quickly to make sure the piece is protected, with two transparent acrylic sheets being installed over the top of it, while further options are considered.

Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Cllr Phil North, said:

“There was much excitement and engagement when this piece of art appeared, so it felt necessary that swift action be taken to ensure it was protected. That gives us the time and space to investigate what we do in the future, whilst it’s kept safe. Including, what, if any, consents are required to keep it and if there is a better way of preserving it.

“Someone close to the artist has also contacted me to explain some of the context behind the piece - actually a series of pieces. She’s suggested that it shines a light on homelessness. Starting with a lost bear (in Guildford), a little girl putting up lost bear posters (in Camberley) and now the bear on a journey (through Andover) before potentially being reunited in the future.

“The Andover artwork shows a policeman interacting with the bear. I suppose it’s open to interpretation whether that’s ushering the bear away or pointing him in the right direction. I have to say, my experience of the police locally is that they’d do the latter. Not least because in Test Valley we will always make an offer of emergency accommodation to any local person we are aware is sleeping rough."