Banksy appears to have confirmed his authorship of a new mural in Nottingham after sharing a wordless Instagram post picturing the work.
It comes after another street artist claimed to be responsible for the black and white mural, which depicts a little girl hula hooping.
The artwork first appeared on Tuesday on a wall of a beauty salon Rothesay Avenue, Lenton. It was spray painted behind a battered bike missing a wheel and locked to a lampost.
At the time, a spokeswoman for Banksy told the BBC she did not have any information.
A Midlands-based street artist known as Itchers later took credit for the artwork, telling Nottinghamshire Live: “It’s something for people to enjoy.”
But on Saturday Banksy shared a picture of the mural with his 10.2 million Instagram followers, appearing to stamp his signature on the work.
A shop owner described how he watched the artwork unfold after a van “with blacked out windows” pulled up at about 5pm on Tuesday.
Alex Mitchell, 31, said: “I only saw the driver. I didn’t know what was going on or whether I should call the police.
“He pretended like he had broken down but he was there for at least two hours.”
At one point the man came in and bought two Ribenas, Mr Mitchell said.
He said a piece of cardboard was left “gaffa taped to the wall”. When he returned the next day, the same person was there again.
“I asked him ‘who is the artist’ and he just winked at me,” he said.
“I’m not going to say whether it is Banksy or not, it definitely looks like one but no-one saw who painted it.
“Maybe he was just passing through.”
Surinder Kaur, the owner of the salon the artwork has appeared on, told the BBC she had never heard of Banksy.
She said: “I just saw people taking photos of the side of the shop and thought ‘what’s that about?’
“I’m shocked and excited. It’s such a nice painting and if it is a Banksy – wow!”
Banksy expert Prof Paul Gough, from Arts University Bournemouth, said he was unsure if this was really by Banksy.
“The quality of the drawing in the hands and the feet isn’t as accomplished as I’ve seen in other works,” he said.
“And it’s not as topical. The last four or five pieces Banksy’s done have been really addressing the crisis we’re in at the moment with wit and humour.”
Nottingham has the highest rate of coronavirus infections in the country. While the mural does not explicily refer to the virus, some have speculated if the artist chose the city for that reason.
Other people suggested the bike may have been a nod to the city’s famous Raleigh factory.
Nottingham City Council said the artwork has “attracted interest and excitement”, Banksy or not.
It put a temporary plastic covering over the work to protect it, and urged people not to gather around the piece due to coronavirus restrictions.
The artwork was vandalised shortly after the transparent film had been placed over it.