Banksy’s “Devolved Parliament” Up For Auction Before New Brexit Day
In anticipation of the new Brexit Day on Oct. 31, Banksy’s painting, “Devolved Parliament,” originally revealed in 2009, is up for sale. Although put out for display on March 31, the previously planned date for Brexit, the painting is once again in the spotlight.
The painting will be displayed at Sotheby's from Sept. 28 to Oct. 3. It's the first time the painting will be up for public auction. In March, it was at the Bristol Museum for the “Banksy vs. Bristol Museum” Exhibit.
In “Devolved Parliament,” Banksy replaces Members of Parliament in the House of Commons with chimpanzees. Chimpanzees have been the animal repeatedly used by Banksy since his 2002 painting “Laugh Now” that featured ten chimps wearing sandwich boards with the words “Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge” written on them.
Although the original intent of the painting was not to critique Parliament's position within the European Union, since 2016 the artist has used the chimp in other words to critique the UK’s exit from the union.
Slight changes have been made to the original version displayed in 2009. The lighting of the scene has changed as well as small details including the direction of a banana one chimp is holding in the lower left corner. These changes signify an even stronger critique of what many perceive as the more than disappointing and devolving behavior of Parliament.
“What [Banksy is] pointing to here is the regression of the oldest parliamentary democracy in the world into tribalistic animalistic behaviour, the sort that we've seen broadcast on our televisions,” Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s European head of contemporary art, said.
Banksy himself had posted “Devolved Parliament” on Instagram with the same caption as the sandwich boards in “Laugh Now.”
Oct. 3 is just one year after the auction of “Girl With Balloon,” which shredded itself while being sold for $1.5 million at Sotheby’s. This upcoming auction is expected to surpass that sale at $2.5 million, a record among any of Banksy’s pieces. Many are anticipating the auction, thinking Banksy might have another trick up his sleeve.