Mysterious street artist Banksy has been busy during the coronavirus pandemic, sharing various lock-down themed pieces on Instagram over the past few months. And now he's donated a trio of paintings to a charity auction raising money for a Bethlehem hospital – and they're rather different from his usual style.
The triptych, titled Mediterranean Sea View 2017, is estimated to fetch between £800,000 and £1.2M. Unlike the stencil street art style of many of Banksy's famous works (check out our best street art examples), these are reworked oil paintings featuring 19th Century style seascapes. But one thing that isn't missing is Banksy's signature political commentary.
The paintings, shared by Sotheby's auction house (above), have been adapted to include lifejackets and lifebuoys, in reference to "the thousands of lives lost at sea during the European migrant crisis of the 2010s". At first glance they seem like beautiful paintings, but look a little closer and they become much more tragic.
The artworks were originally created for Banksy's Walled-Off Hotel in Bethlehem, knows as the hotel with "the worst view in the world" thanks to its location beside the separation wall that Israel put up around the city. Mediterranean Sea View 2017 has been displayed in the lobby of the hotel for 3 years.
All proceeds from today's Sotheby's auction will go towards building a new acute stroke unit and purchasing children’s rehabilitation equipment for BASR (Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation).
Banksy's most recent work saw him take a clandestine trip on the London Underground to promote the wearing of face masks in public. If you're yet to get hold of mask, our guide to where to buy a face mask has you covered.