Banksy donates migrant crisis oil paintings worth up to £1.2m


Banksy has donated three oil paintings referencing the European migrant crisis to a charity auction raising money for a hospital in Bethlehem.

The works, titled Mediterranean Sea View 2017, are estimated to sell for between £800,000 and £1.2m.

The anonymous street artist from Bristol took 19th century-style Romantic seascapes and added life jackets and buoys to depict the deaths of migrants travelling to the EU during the 2010s.

One of a triptych of paintings by Banksy
One of a triptych of paintings by Banksy

Banksy created the triptych of paintings for his hotel in Bethlehem, called The Walled Off Hotel, which contains a museum and gallery.

Overlooking the West Bank wall that divides the town, the hotel bills itself as having “the worst view of any hotel in the world” and is filled with original Banksy artwork.

The works will feature in Sotheby’s Rembrandt to Richter cross-category evening sale on Tuesday.

Proceeds will go to the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation and will be used to build a new acute stroke unit and the purchase of children’s rehabilitation equipment.

More from Banksy

The reworked oil paintings, in three parts, are worth up to £1.2m
The reworked oil paintings, in three parts, are worth up to £1.2m

Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s head of contemporary art for Europe, said: “In Mediterranean Sea View 2017, Banksy corrupts three found oil paintings with his own witty reworkings to create something that, while posing as a 19th-century seascape, spotlights one of the burning issues of the 21st century.

“In Rembrandt to Richter, this triptych hangs in Sotheby’s galleries alongside works by some of history’s greatest landscape painters, including Bellotto, Van Goyen and Turner.”

He added: “Banksy’s work, however, stands alone for its potent political message.”

The final piece on the Tube is a rat holding hand sanitiser over the word Banksy. Pic: Banksy

Rats wearing masks in Banksy’s latest coronavirus artwork

In his most recent stunt, Banksy spray-painted the inside of a London Underground train carriage with messages about the spread of coronavirus.

The artwork was removed by cleaning staff who did not realise that Banksy was behind it.

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