Banksy created a new painting for a U.K. hospital.

Daria Simone Harper
May 7, 2020 3:37PM, via BBC

A member of staff has their photograph taken in front of a new artwork painted by Banksy that has gone on display to staff and patients on Level C of Southampton General Hospital. Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images.

Banksy’s latest artwork offers a show of appreciation for essential healthcare workers. The elusive British artist has revealed a new artwork at the Southampton General Hospital in the United Kingdom. The new work was mounted near the emergency department in conjunction with some hospital managers. The painting will remain on view until fall, when it will be auctioned to raise funds for the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS).

Paula Head, CEO of the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, said in a statement:

Our hospital family has been directly impacted with the tragic loss of much loved and respected members of staff and friends. The fact that Banksy has chosen us to recognise the outstanding contribution everyone in and with the NHS is making, in unprecedented times, is a huge honour.

The artwork shows a young boy dressed in a T-shirt and overalls kneeling to play with his toys, as a small trash can sits beside him. Batman and Spiderman figurines stick out of the top of the trash can. The young boy’s attention is fixed on one toy in particular: a figurine of an NHS nurse. Donning a mask and a cape, the nurse holds one arm outstretched, like an action figure prepared to save the world. The painting is black and white except for the Red Cross symbol on the nurse’s uniform.

In a note to the hospital staff, Banksy wrote: “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if its (sic) only black and white.”

The artist’s uncharacteristically earnest expression of support for healthcare workers is his second major work completed since the U.K. went into lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month Banksy revealed an installation featuring mischievous rats that he’d apparently created in his bathroom. One of his most famous outdoor works, known as “Girl with a Pierced Eardrum,” was recently modified with a giant face mask.

Further Reading: 7 Artists on Creating New Work during Quarantine

Further Reading: The 6 Most Iconic Works by Banksy

Daria Simone Harper
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019