Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's Another Exhibit by Hirst ... but Haven't We Seen It Somewhere before? CHRISTMAS CARD DOVE THAT UNITES A PAVEMENT ARTIST WITH MILLIONAIRE DAMIEN

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's Another Exhibit by Hirst ... but Haven't We Seen It Somewhere before? CHRISTMAS CARD DOVE THAT UNITES A PAVEMENT ARTIST WITH MILLIONAIRE DAMIEN

Article excerpt

Byline: LUKE LEITCH

ONE is by Britain's best-known modern artist, who has amassed a huge fortune by selling his notorious works for up to [pounds sterling]1.5 million. The other has been churned out for years by an unknown who, every Sunday, sells his paintings for less than [pounds sterling]100 each from a pavement pitch on the Bayswater Road.

But the works by Damien Hirst and Talaat Elshaabiny are intriguingly similar and both are uncannily like an obscure Christmas card design which predates them both.

Entitled Spirit, Hirst's painting of a dove soaring against a sky-blue background is one of the works in his latest exhibition. It went up for sale three months ago at his Hoxton gallery for an undisclosed, six-figure sum.

Mr Elshaabiny, who is not represented by a gallery, has been selling his version for four years.

This is not the first time Hirst has produced a work of art that turned out to be less than original.

Hymn, his enormous bronze sculpture of a skinned human figure, had already been snapped up by Charles Saatchi for [pounds sterling]1 million when it emerged the statue was remarkably similar- except in size - to a [pounds sterling]14.99 children's anatomical science model produced by the company Humbrol.

Earlier this year the Evening Standard revealed Hirst had created another statue, Charity, based closely on the once ubiquitous collection boxes for Scope, formerly known as the Spastics Society.

But Hirst has never claimed to be worried about what people think of his art. As early as 1990 he was quoted as saying: "I can't wait to get into a position to make really bad art and get away with it. At the moment if I did certain things people would look at it, consider it, and then say, 'Eff off '. But after a while you can get away with things."

It is not known what precisely inspired Hirst to paint his dove, but Mr Elshaabiny readily admits his version is based on a Christmas card he received from a friend almost a decade ago. …

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