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Banksy’s monochromatic Game Changer was auctioned off at £16.75 million, the highest ever fetched for his artwork

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For a good cause, this Banksy is going to charity

Game Changer – a fitting name for this painting. By renowned anonymous artist Banksy, this painting broke records as the highest paid for a Banksy at £16.75 million (S$30.9 million). But that’s not the only game it’s changing, because this Banksy is also for charity. All proceeds will go to state health service staff members.

Prior to being auctioned at Christie’s auction house in London, the artwork had been delivered to Southampton General Hospital in May last year. Attached was the note: “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens up the place a bit, even if it’s only in black and white.”

The painting was delivered amidst the first wave of the global pandemic and served as a source of inspiration to frontline workers. Fittingly, it depicts a boy holding a nurse doll with a cape while Batman and Superman dolls are left in the bin.

Game Changer had far exceeded the pre-sale estimate of £2.5 to £3.5 million (S$4.6 to $6.4 million). Auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen had called the sale a “historic moment”. According to Christie’s, the painting was noticeably different from Banksy’s irreverent style. Instead, it represents his personal tribute to the real game-changers in society – hospital workers and staff who have been at the frontline of this pandemic.

Banksy’s other works in the pandemics have been more critical, however. In July last year, he had spray-painted the London tube to encourage people to wear face masks. In December, he drew a woman sneezing on the side of a house in Bristol.

Though the original Game Changer artwork has been auctioned off, a reproduction remains in the hospital.

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