Gaza resident sells a door, unwittingly parts with a Banksy masterpiece

Story highlights

  • Rabea Darduna's Gaza home was destroyed last year; he sold his door to bring in some money
  • He now seeks the return of the door, which turned out to have been a canvas for graffiti artist Banksy
  • Another Gazan has a Banksy piece of a cat playing with mangled metal; he's not selling

Jerusalem (CNN)When Rabea Darduna's Gaza home was destroyed in last summer's war, he says he felt he was left with nothing. Only a doorway and a door. He sold the door to bring in some money to care for his six children, not realizing the prize he had.

"We sold it as we would sell an iron door," Darduna said, "for $175. And the man took it."
    Darduna says he was duped into believing the door was a normal door when it was really a canvas for Banksy, one of the world's most famous graffiti artists, who had painted a Greek goddess with her head in her hand. The door was likely worth a small fortune -- a fortune Darduna gave away for a fraction of its value.
    "Things started becoming clear that the artist is worldwide famous, and he drew it secretly," said Darduna. "[The buyer] used us. My house is demolished. We're destroyed emotionally. We ask him to return the door."
    Guy mistakenly sells $$$ Banksy mural for $175
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    Banksy's graffiti in Gaza has become an attraction after he visited in February and painted a series of political messages. His works adorn walls and homes turning rubble into riches. Some of Banksy's art has sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Banksy has never revealed his identity, but he is an English graffiti artist who began displaying his work in the early 1990s. His street art often portrays political and social messages.
    Mohammed Alshanbari says he's had offers for Banksy's portrait of a cat playing with a ball of mangled metal, but he refuses to sell.
    In text accompanying the image on his official website, Banksy wrote: "A local man came up and said 'Please -- what does this mean?' I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website -- but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens."
    Alshanbari says he's looking after the mural on the wall where his house once stood.
    "A lot of people showed up and people asked to buy it, but I'm keeping it, and I won't sell it," he says. "It's a graffiti from the most famous artist in the world, and I can't give it away. It stands where the house used to stand. I cleared a lot of rubble, but left the wall."
    Meanwhile, Darduna stares at the rubble of his house, wondering whether he can reclaim the treasure he never knew was his.