By Naina Bajekal
April 1, 2015

A Gazan man says he was tricked into selling a valuable artwork by British artist Banksy to a local man for $175.

Banksy’s artworks have sold for up to $600,000 and Rabie Darduna claims he is a victim of fraud.

Banksy secretly visited the Gaza Strip in February for an undercover documentary depicting the lives of Palestinians. He left behind four murals, including one drawn on the only remaining door of Darduna’s home in northern Gaza, which was among the thousands destroyed in last summer’s conflict with Israel. The painting depicts the Greek goddess Niobe weeping (In ancient mythology, Niobe is typically portrayed as a bereaved mother, weeping for the loss of her 14 children).

Darduna told the BBC that the buyer tricked him into selling the piece by pretending to work for Banksy. “It’s a matter of fraud,” said Darduna, adding that his family was extremely upset over the loss of the piece.

The buyer said his purchase of the painting for less than $175 was legal, despite the fact that Banksy’s artworks can sell for up to $600,000. The street artist’s representative has reportedly contacted the family to say Banksy believes the mural ought to be returned.

Watch Banksy’s mock-travel advert for Gaza below.

[BBC]

Write to Naina Bajekal at naina.bajekal@time.com.

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