Banksy’s Season’s Greetings mural has been removed from a steelworker’s garage and relocated to an art gallery.
The relocation of the piece from a row of garages in the Taibach area of Port Talbot brings to an end months of planning as engineers worked out how to remove the two external walls and transport them intact.
On Wednesday the artwork was carefully lifted by crane before being loaded onto a lorry and escorted by police to its new home at Ty’r Orsaf in Port Talbot’s town centre where it will remain on display for at least three years.
It was covered in resin to stop it from cracking and covered in plastic sheeting, wood, and a metal frame to protect it during its mile-long journey.
Engineers spent around two hours carefully lowering the two external walls featuring the stencil painting onto a dolly outside the new gallery, which was then used to successfully pull it inside.
A bottom layer of bricks had to be removed by workers before it was able to fit inside the building.
Essex-based art dealer, John Brandler, 63, who bought the mural for a “six figure sum” in January, said he was “relieved” the operation had been a success.
He told the Press Association: “We can see there’s no damage, we can see it’s perfect. It’s wonderful. I’m just so relieved it’s finally here.”
He added: “This has put the town internationally on the map.”
But Mr Brandler, said he had met resistance to his plans to turn the gallery into an international street art museum which would have other renowned street art and Banksy pieces he owns on display, which he says would attract 150,000 people a year.
He said: “If the people of Port Talbot want an international street art museum, fine. But I was talking to somebody from the Welsh Assembly who says they want to turn it into a contemporary art museum.
“There are five international museums for street art. New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Munich. This would be the sixth one. So people would travel from all over the world.
“But all I get is ‘Banksy isn’t Welsh, is he’.”
Mr Brandler bought the The Season’s Greetings mural from steelworker Ian Lewis, 55, after it appeared on the two external walls of his garage in December.
Mr Lewis, who had earlier said he did not think he would miss the mural, said he was “really happy” it was staying in Port Talbot.
He told the Press Association: “I am really happy it’s staying here. I think I made the right decision and I’m pleased it’s all done with.”
He said Mr Brandler was paying to restore his garage.