If ever a piece of art was indicative of our time then Bansky's Devolved Parliament oil painting is a true reflection of British politics !!
Potent and poignant, bold and brash, Banksy’s monumental oil painting of the House of Commons offers a premonitory insight into the increasingly tumultuous face of politics in contemporary Britain. Showcasing primates sitting in Britain’s parliament this satirical painting recently sold at Sotheby’s for more than $12 million / £9.9 million, a record price at auction for a work by the British street artist. After a heated 13-minute bidding-battle, the painting sold for nearly five times its initial £2m estimate.
Spanning an impressive thirteen feet in length, this is the largest known canvas by the anonymous street artist whose subversive practice has granted him a reputation of infamy as much as world renown.
Bitingly satirical in nature, the present painting depicts the inner sanctum of British politics; yet instead of debating MPs, the House of Commons is filled with chimpanzees in a scene of mayhem and madness.
The work was executed a decade ago and first exhibited in the ground-breaking Banksy versus Bristol Museum exhibition, which took place at the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery in 2009, famously attracting over 300,000 visitors. Entitled Question Time at the time of the show, the painting has since been reworked by the artist and more recently retitled. Once glowing, the Commons' lamps have been snuffed-out by Banksy, while the upturned banana of an ape in the foreground now faces downwards; atop these and other subtle adjustments, the painting also bears a new name: Devolved Parliament. Exhibited under this title, the present work returned to the spotlight in a timely exhibition at the Bristol museum which debuted just prior to 29th March: the date originally intended to mark Britain’s exit from the European Union. So-termed Brexit Day, the repeated deferral of this date, most recently to 31st October, makes Banksy’s prophetic and sardonically humorous Devolved Parliament ever more pertinent.
His derisive art has provoked divisive opinion, but love him or hate him, his wide-reaching influence on contemporary art and urban culture cannot be denied. With each day bringing new commotion to the political arena, Devolved Parliament could not be more prescient!