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Banksy’s COVID-Themed Painting Fetches Highest Price Anyone Has Paid For His Art
By Mikelle Leow, 25 Mar 2021
Image via Banksy
Banksy’s reimagination of a superhero in the time of a medical crisis was sold for a record-breaking £16.7 million (US$23.1 million) on Tuesday by Christie’s London, making it the most expensive artwork anybody has ever paid for a Banksy.
Game Changer, a three-foot-square painting donated to University Hotel Southampton by the elusive street artist last May, features a child playing with a masked toy nurse in place of superheroes like Batman and Spiderman. The piece serves as a tribute to healthcare workers putting their lives on the line to fight the coronavirus.
DW reports that the piece is accompanied by a letter reading, “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s only black and white.”
Taking the painting’s spot at the hospital is a reproduction to comfort patients, workers, and visitors.
The artwork fetched more than four times its estimated price of £3.5 million ($4.8 million), and almost double the previous record set by his 2009 work, Devolved Parliament.
The auction house notes that proceeds from the sale will help “fund wellbeing projects for staff and patients” at the Southampton Hospitals Charity and bring in more healthcare providers for both the NHS and charitable sectors.
Katharine Arnold, a contemporary art expert at Christie’s, described of the painting: “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.”
Expressing his thanks, University Hospital Southampton’s Interim Chief Executive Officer David French commented, “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. 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.”
[via DW and CNN, images via Banksy]
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