A Banksy piece depicting politicians in the House of Commons as chimpanzees is expected to fetch up to £2 million at auction, a record amount for the artist’s works.
Devolved Parliament, which is four metres wide, was first unveiled as part of the Bristol artist’s exhibition Banksy vs Bristol Museum in 2009.
It went back on show at the museum earlier this year to mark the 10-year anniversary of the exhibition and as the political system remains in Brexit turmoil.
The picture depicts the benches of Parliament occupied by primates. It is the largest known canvas by the anonymous street artist, whose creations have earned him global renown.
The satirical piece will go on public display at Sotheby’s in London, a mile away from the Palace of Westminster, from September 28 to October 3.
It will be auctioned on October 3 and is expected to sell for between £1.5 million and £2 million.
Alex Branczik of Sotheby’s said: “Regardless of where you sit in the Brexit debate, there’s no doubt that this work is more pertinent now than it has ever been, capturing unprecedented levels of political chaos and confirming Banksy as the satirical polemicist of our time.”
The auction takes place almost a year after Banksy’s ‘Girl With the Balloon’ self-destructed as the gavel came down at Sotheby’s, becoming the freshly titled ‘Love Is in the Bin’.
After ‘Devolved Parliament’ went on display in March, Banksy wrote on Instagram: “‘Devolved Parliament’. I made this 10 years ago.
“Bristol museum have just put it back on display to mark Brexit day.”
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His post ended with the quote: “Laugh now, but one day no one will be in charge.”
Chimpanzees first appeared in his work in 2002, with his piece ‘Laugh Now’.
The painting shows a row of apes wearing aprons carrying the inscription “Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge”.
In 2009, Banksy said of ‘Devolved Parliament’: “You paint 100 chimpanzees and they still call you a guerrilla artist.”