A Banksy painting showing a boy playing with a toy nurse as a superhero has sold for almost £17 million, setting an auction record for the elusive British street artist.
Banksy may be best known for his comic and subversive street art, that magically and mysteriously appear overnight but in May last year he had to work within the constraints of lockdown and, you may recall, produced a more intimate piece paying tribute to the NHS
“Game Changer”, unveiled last May at University Hospital Southampton, paid tribute to the frontline workers of Britain’s National Health Service in their fight against the Covid-19. It was a gift from the artist to the hospital.
It shows a boy dressed in dungarees playing with a nurse superhero toy, with figures of Batman and Spider-Man discarded in a bin. The nurse, wearing a face mask and a white apron featuring a red cross, has her arm raised as if she is flying, with a cape fluttering behind her.
Banksy left a note for hospital workers, saying: “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s only black and white.”
It has just been sold by Christie's, the auction house, for the spectacular price of £17 million.
Through Southampton Hospitals Charity, proceeds from the sale will be used to “fund wellbeing projects for staff and patients, and distributed to a wider community of healthcare providers both within the NHS and charitable sectors,” Christie’s said.