Banksy to auction pandemic-inspired painting for UK health service staff

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A Banksy painting inspired by the response to the coronavirus pandemic is to go on sale, potentially raising millions of pounds for UK health service staff.

“Game Changer” is a black and white depiction of a little boy playing with the doll of a nurse in a mask, near a bin with Batman and Superman toys.

It first appeared at Southampton General Hospital on England’s south coast last May during the first wave of the global health crisis.

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The elusive street artist penned a note to staff at the time: “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens up the place a bit, even if it’s only in black and white.”

Auction house Christie’s said it will go on sale on March 23 and has a pre-sale estimate of between £2.5 - 3.5 million ($3.5-4.8 million, 2.9-4.1 million euros) Katharine Arnold, Christie’s co-head of post-war and contemporary art, called “Game Changer” a “universal tribute to all those fighting worldwide on the front line of this crisis”.

She said it was a “beacon of light” for staff and patients at the hospital, and he wanted to auction it with proceeds going to National Health Service (NHS) charities.

A reproduction of the work will stay at the hospital.

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