Banksy auctions painting for UK health service staff

By: AFP      Published: 06:40 PM, 8 Mar, 2021
Banksy auctions painting for UK health service staff

A Banksy painting inspired by the response to the coronavirus pandemic is to go on sale, potentially raising millions of pounds for UK health service staff.

"Game Changer" is a black and white depiction of a little boy playing with the doll of a nurse in a mask, near a bin with Batman and Superman toys.

It first appeared at Southampton General Hospital on England's south coast last May during the first wave of the global health crisis.

The elusive street artist penned a note to staff at the time: "Thanks for all you're doing. I hope this brightens up the place a bit, even if it's only in black and white."

Auction house Christie's said it will go on sale on March 23 and has a pre-sale estimate of between £2.5 - 3.5 million ($3.5-4.8 million, 2.9-4.1 million euros)

Katharine Arnold, Christie's co-head of post-war and contemporary art, called "Game Changer" a "universal tribute to all those fighting worldwide on the front line of this crisis".

She said it was a "beacon of light" for staff and patients at the hospital, and he wanted to auction it with proceeds going to National Health Service (NHS) charities.

A reproduction of the work will stay at the hospital.