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Banksy’s artwork depicting MPs as chimps to go up for auction

The piece, Devolved Parliament, is the Bristol graffiti artist’s largest known canvas.

Devolved Parliament at Bristol Museum (Steve Parsons/PA)
Devolved Parliament at Bristol Museum (Steve Parsons/PA)

By Claire Hayhurst, PA

A Banksy piece depicting politicians in the House of Commons as chimpanzees is to go up for auction, where it is expected to fetch up to £2 million.

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 that exhibition and the original Brexit deadline of March 29.

The 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.

Devolved Parliament will be auctioned on October 3 and is expected to sell for between £1.5-£2 million.

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Isabelle Schofield takes a photo of herself in front of the painting Devolved Parliament at Bristol Museum (Steve Parsons/PA)

Alex Branczik, European head of contemporary art at Sotheby’s, said: “Banksy is a modern-day Voltaire, confronting the burning issues of the day with caustic wit and biting satire, but with a lightness of touch and a visual irony that distils society’s most complicated political situations into just one, deceptively simple image that is readily shareable in our social media age.

“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 ten years ago.

“Bristol museum have just put it back on display to mark Brexit day.”

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.”

PA

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