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Banksy Painting Raises More Than £16 Million For NHS Charities

by : Cameron Frew on : 24 Mar 2021 07:32
Banksy Painting Raises More Than £16 Million For NHS CharitiesBanksy/PA Images

Banksy’s latest painting of a young boy playing with a nurse doll as a superhero has fetched more than £16 million for NHS charities. 

The notorious street artist, generally based in the UK but their nationality remains unconfirmed nor have they been identified – although there are theories – is no stranger to commenting on societal issues and current affairs in their work, whether it’s the ‘fallen angel’ or ‘kissing coppers’.

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In May last year, Banksy delivered ‘Game Changer’ to Southampton General Hospital as a thank you to frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, it’s sold for a record £16.8 million, with the proceeds going to different health charities.

Banksy Painting Raises More Than £16 Million For NHS CharitiesPA Images

A reproduction of the painting remains at the hospital, showing a young boy playing with a nurse doll instead of Batman and Spider-Man, but the original square metre canvas was sold following a lengthy bidding war at Christie’s headquarters in London. Despite the high sum it eventually reached, initial estimates were only in the region of £2.5–3.5 million.

While the hammer price was £14.4 million, the buyer’s premium ratcheted up the total cost to £16.8 million, ‘a significant portion’ of which – at least £16 million – will go towards organisations and charities that work with the NHS, the auction house said, as per BBC News.

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Prior to the auction, Christie’s described the painting as a ‘an image of hope and a ‘personal tribute to those who continue to turn the tide of the pandemic’.

Banksy Painting Raises More Than £16 Million For NHS CharitiesPA Images

When Banksy delivered the artwork, he left a note which read: ‘Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s only black and white.’

As per The Guardian, David French, interim chief executive officer of University Hospital Southampton Trust, said: ‘This incredible gift will be invaluable in helping us to focus on promoting and protecting the welfare of our staff as they heal and recover from the last year.’

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He added: ‘As a charitable gift it ensures our staff have a say in how money is spent to benefit them, our patients and our community and is a fantastic way to thank and reward them for the sacrifices they’ve made.’

A spokeswoman for Christie’s also said: ‘Banksy is an extraordinary artist who is a constant barometer of nationwide sentiment. With the perfect image of a little boy playing with his superhero doll, a nurse sporting the international Red Cross, he perfectly captured the essence of this moment in time.’

She added: ‘As we have turned our focus towards our families and those we love, we express our gratitude to the people who continue to fight on the frontline against COVID-19.’

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: News, Art, Banksy, Coronavirus, NHS, UK

Credits

BBC News and 1 other
  1. BBC News

    Covid: Banksy painting for NHS charities sells for £14.4m

  2. The Guardian

    Banksy's NHS Covid superhero nurse gift sold for record £16.7m