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Banksy has raised more than £16 million for health projects with the auction of a painting offering an “image of hope”.
Game Changer appeared at Southampton Hospital during the first wave of the pandemic.
The anonymous graffiti artist has now auctioned the original canvas, with the reproduction of the work remaining in the hospital.
The painting fetched £16.7 million, which is a world auction record for the artist, according to Christie’s.
Proceeds from its sale will be used to support health organisations and charities which enhance the care and treatment provided by the NHS the auction house said.
Banksy perfectly captured the essence of this moment in time
The hand-painted image shows a young boy playing with superhero dolls.
While Batman and Spiderman are discarded in a bin, the child clutches a figure of a masked nurse wearing a cape.
Christie’s said that the image “offers an image of hope” and represents a “personal tribute to those who continue to turn the tide of the pandemic”.
Katharine Arnold, co-head, post-war and contemporary art, Europe at the auction house, said: “Banksy is an extraordinary artist who is a constant barometer of nationwide sentiment.
“With the perfect image of a little boy playing with his superhero doll, a nurse sporting the international Red Cross he perfectly captured the essence of this moment in time.
“As we have turned our focus towards our families and those we love, we express our gratitude to the people who continue to fight on the frontline against Covid-19.”
When first unveiled at Southampton Hospital, the picture was accompanied by a note which read: “Thanks for all you’re doing.
“I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s only black and white.”