THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
An original Banksy artwork entitled Game Changer will auctioned by Christie’s on March 23, with the proceeds benefiting the National Health Service.
On 6 May 2020, during the first wave of the global Covid pandemic, a painting by Banksy appeared in a corridor in Southampton General Hospital. A gift to the hospital, it now comes to auction as was always the artist’s intention. A reproduction will remain on view for future patients, visitors and staff at the hospital.
The hand-painted work, in the style of a children’s book illustration, shows a young boy playing with a selection of superhero dolls. In the retro-styled painting (from the time of Banksy’s childhood, can we infer?) Batman and Spiderman lie discarded in a bin while the child makes his new idol, a nurse doll dressed in a 1960s-style Red Cross uniform, soar to the rescue, cape fluttering and Coronavirus mask firmly in place.
When it first appeared, the painting was accompanied by a note form the artist saying, “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s only black and white.” As people around the world applauded healthcare and other frontline workers from their doorsteps during the first global lockdown, Game Changer is Banksy’s practical show of support for the NHS. Previously only seen by medical staff and patients, the auction will be its first appearance outside of the hospital.
Game Changer will be visible through the Duke Street Gallery window at Christie’s Headquarters in London until March 15. The painting will be sold in Christie’s 20th Century Art Evening Sale on March 23 and has a pre-sale estimate of £2,500,000-3,500,000. www.christies.com