Banksy's 'Game Changer' raises more than £14m for health projects

banksy auction
Credit: PA

A painting by the graffiti artist, Banksy has sold at auction raising more than £14 million for NHS charities.

The painting first appeared at Southampton General Hospital last May, during the first wave of the pandemic.

Credit: PA

The original canvas, entitled 'Game Changer' 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 the sale will be used to support health organisations and charities which enhance the care and treatment provided by the NHS, the auction house said.

David French, Interim Chief Executive Officer at University Hospital Southampton: “This incredible gift will be invaluable in helping us to focus on promoting and protecting the welfare of our staff as they heal and recover from the last year.

"As a charitable gift it ensures our staff have a say in how money is spent to benefit them, our patients and our community and is a fantastic way to thank and reward them for the sacrifices they’ve made."

Banksy's 'Game Changer'

The 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."

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."

Game Changer was up for auction in Christie’s 20th Century Art Evening Sale on March 23, with a pre-sale estimate of £2.5 to £3.5 million.