One Year After A $1.9 Million Banksy Artwork Self-Destructed, Another One Is Up For Sale
On the brink of the Brexit deadline -- and amid the chaos which has come along with it -- a Banksy painting of the House of Commons packed with chimpanzees is set to go on sale.
The four-metre wide canvas, titled Devolved Parliament, is expected to fetch up to £2 million (AU$3.6 million) when it is auctioned at Sotheby's in London on October 3.
It is the largest known canvas ever made by the elusive street artist -- who is best known for his political street art sprayed onto surfaces across the world -- and features benches of Parliament filled with primates.
Despite being unveiled a decade ago, Devolved Parliament could not be more timely, Sotheby’s European Head of Contemporary Art Alex Branczik pointed out.
"Regardless of where you sit in the Brexit debate, there's no doubt than it this work is more pertinent now than it has ever been," Branczik said.
"[It captures] unprecedented levels of political chaos and confirming Banksy as the satirical polemicist of our time.”
To mark the painting's ten year anniversary in March, Bristol Museum put it back on display.
At the time, Banksy gave a snippet of further insight into the work.
"I made this ten years ago. Bristol museum have just put it back on display to mark Brexit day," the artist said on Instagram.
"Laugh now, but one day no-one will be in charge."
If the work does sell for around the £2 million mark, it will break Banksy's current record of £1.45 million, set by the sale of his 2007 painting Keep It Spotless.
While Devolved Parliament was not painted as a commentary on Brexit, Banksy has since touched on the issue heavily in more recent works.
A mural showing a workman chipping away at one of the golden stars from the European Union's flag popped up on the side of a building in Dover in May 2017. The work was painted over in August.
Devolved Parliament's upcoming auction is not the first time Sotheby's current European Head of Contemporary Art has dealt with the artist's work.
In October 2018, Banksy's famous Girl With Balloon sold at auction for an impressive $1.9 million, before the canvas was immediately destroyed by a mechanism hidden within the frame's base.
The crowd watched on as the piece was slowly shredded into ribbons, before stopping at around the half-way point.
“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” Branczik said at the time.
“He is arguably the greatest British street artist, and tonight we saw a little piece of Banksy genius."
Though street art by nature doesn't typically lend itself well to commercial auctions, the cult following which has grown up around Banksy has brought with it an intense demand for his work.
In 2013, someone went so far as to physically remove a part of a wall in London which featured the artist's work, before successfully selling it at a private auction for $1.1 million.