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Banksy - Devolved Parliament
“Devolved Parliament” by Banksy

Banksy’s very accurate painting of MPs as chimps is up for auction

The artwork is expected to fetch £1.5 million

Banksy’s painting “Devolved Parliament” – which depicts MPs as chimpanzees in the middle of a Commons session – is going up for auction, and is estimated to fetch an enormous £1.5 - 2 million.

The 13-foot long artwork is the artist’s largest known canvas work, and was originally painted and displayed in the 2009 exhibition, “Banksy vs. Bristol Museum” which attracted 300,000 visitors. The piece will go on display at Sotheby’s on September 28, before being auctioned during the institution’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction on October 3.

Alex Branczik, European head of contemporary art at Sotheby’s, said Banksy “confronted the burning issues of the day”, and that “regardless of where you sit in the Brexit debate, there’s no doubt that this work is more pertinent now than it has ever been, capturing unprecedented levels of political chaos and confirming Banksy as the satirical polemicist of our time”. The auction comes just one year after Banksy famously self-destructed an artwork immediately after a winning bid at the world-famous auction house.

Earlier this year, “Devolved Parliament” was reinstalled at The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery to commemorate a decade since its original display and just in time to mark the original ‘Brexit Day’, when the UK was meant to leave the EU.

This is not the first time the elusive and overtly political artist has made a statement on Brexit. Back in 2017, Banksy unleashed a mural in Dover of an overall-clad workman chipping out the UK’s star adorned on the EU flag. The same piece was mysteriously painted over this year.

The UK government is currently in disarray after Boris Johnson prorogued parliament until October 14, giving MPs just two weeks to debate Brexit. A bill put forward by the opposition and rebel Tories was given royal assent last week, meaning Johnson has to ask for a Brexit extension unless he agrees a deal (or MPs approve No Deal) before October 31. Today, the Supreme Court has begun an emergency hearing to discuss claims that Johnsons’s suspension of parliament was unlawful.