Yesterday, the unsuspecting staff at Southampton General Hospital came to work in the morning and were greeted by an extraordinary new Banksy artwork. The artist left a note with the artwork for the hospital workers, which read: “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s only black and white.”
Paula Head, CEO of the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our hospital family has been directly impacted with the tragic loss of much loved and respected members of staff and friends.”
Largely monochromatic, the work depicts a child playing with a doll dressed in a nurses uniform, with Batman and Spiderman toys discarded in a bin to his left. The message is clear, poignantly identifying medical workers of the NHS as the true superheroes of our time. The nurse’s defiantly outstretched arm is a motif that visually correlates with the stance of comic book superheroes so revered by children. Equipped with a face-mask, cape, and apron bearing the Red Cross symbol she symbolises the incredible work that the NHS is doing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The painting is set to remain at Southampton General Hospital until the autumn when it will be auctioned to raise money for the NHS. Ian Syer, Co-founder of MyArtBroker.com says “Banksy has returned to the forefront of timely controversy with a unique one off canvas for the NHS that when auctioned could fetch well in excess of £5million.”
“Banksy has yet again captured the mood of the nation perfectly with Game Changer. This piece represents our inner feelings and hopes for the nations youth to aspire to be, and worship the real heroes that live and work amongst us, day in day out, rather than fictional or false celebrity status icons.”
This typically selfless act by Banksy will give the NHS a much-needed cash injection in the Autumn- hopefully when the worst of the pandemic is long over. A reminder that the NHS has long been underfunded and will continue to need help once COVID-19 has been defeated.
Take a look at some of our favourite street art tributes to the NHS here: