Almost one year after Banksy made auction history for shredding one of his paintings moments after it sold, the anonymous street artist is once again back in auction and breaking records. His largest known oil-on-canvas, depicting a chaotic scene in the U.K. parliament, will soon be shown and auctioned off at Sotheby’s in London ahead of a Brexit talk during an EU summit next month.
The piece, titled Devolved Parliament is expected to sell between £1.5 million and £2 million at Sotheby’s evening sale of contemporary art on October 3 in London. The work will be on display starting Sept. 28.
The painting shows the House of Commons in a scene filled with chimpanzees instead of Members of Parliament. Some of the chimpanzees are seen wearing aprons that read “Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge”. It was created ten years ago and was first shown in the groundbreaking Banksy versus Bristol Museum exhibition in 2009. It was acquired by the current owner two years later and carries an official certificate of authenticity from Pest Control, Banksy’s handling service.
The painting made an appearance again at the Bristol Museum earlier this year, right before March 29, the original date intended for Brexit. Banksy posted on his Instagram account on March 29, saying, ” I made this ten years ago. Bristol museum have just put it back on display to mark Brexit day.” It was originally created in 2009, way before Brexit was on anyone’s mind. But its sale comes at a feverish time in British and European politics, with the House of Commons locked in a constitutional battle with the government regarding its plans to take the UK out of the EU.
“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,” Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s European head of contemporary art, said in a statement.
Banksy has been hailed as international phenomenon for his dissident style, satire and political commentary on all matters relating to modern day life, from the global immigration crisis, to global warming, the treatment of refugees and most recently the European Union and Brexit.
Banksy’s most recent auction feat took place also at Sotheby’s in London exactly one year ago, when his painting, Girl With Balloon, self-shredded in the middle of a live auction. The newly-minted piece, titled Love in the Bin (2018), was then sold for £1.04 million.
The artist’s current auction record was set in 2008, when his painting Keep It Spotless, sold for $1.87 million at a Sotheby’s auction in New York. If the £1.5m-£2m estimate is met, it will set a new auction record for Banksy after fees are included.