Banksy says artwork of MPs as chimps put on display ‘to mark Brexit day’

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Banksy says artwork of MPs as chimps put on display ‘to mark Brexit day’

The piece is the Bristol graffiti artist’s largest canvas.


Isabelle Schofield takes a photo of herself in front of the painting Devolved Parliament (Steve Parsons/PA)
Isabelle Schofield takes a photo of herself in front of the painting Devolved Parliament (Steve Parsons/PA)

Graffiti artist Banksy has said his piece depicting politicians in the House of Commons as chimpanzees has gone on display “to mark Brexit day”.

The artwork, named Devolved Parliament, has been put on show at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery in time for the original deadline of March 29.

It was first shown there in 2009 as part of the Banksy vs Bristol Museum exhibition.

Devolved Parliament was then purchased by an unnamed collector, who has loaned it to the museum to mark a decade since its unveiling.

Banksy gave his permission for the piece, which is four metres  wide, to go back on display.

A photograph of Devolved Parliament was posted on the artist’s Instagram account on Thursday.

The caption read: “Devolved Parliament. I made this ten years ago.

“Bristol museum have just put it back on display to mark Brexit day.”

It ended with the quote: “Laugh now, but one day no-one will be in charge.”

This appears to be a reference to his piece Laugh Now, which Banksy created for a Brighton nightclub in 2002.

Laugh Now features a stencil image of a chimpanzee wearing a sandwich board reading: “Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge.”

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In 2009, Banksy said of Devolved Parliament: “You paint 100 chimpanzees and they still call you a guerrilla artist.”

Members of the public will be able to view Devolved Parliament free of charge at the museum, in Bristol’s busy Queen’s Road, for five months.

Four art conservators spent nine hours erecting the piece in the museum’s front hall, where Banksy’s Paint Pot Angel has been on display since 2009.

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A woman takes a picture of the artwork (Steve Parsons/PA)

Yoma Smith, trustee of Bristol Museums Development Trust, described Banksy as “Bristol’s son” and said she expected the artwork to be very popular.

“It’s great art, and great art is a reflection of society,” she said.

“It raises a mirror to society and discusses the mood and landscape. That’s what Banksy does.

“He points a mirror back at society, so this is exciting for us, it’s exciting for the museum and it’s really exciting for Bristol.”

She said the artwork had been returned to the museum to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Banksy’s exhibition.

Banksy vs Bristol Museum was one of the most successful exhibitions in the world, Ms Smith said.

“I queued outside for it – the queues were down the street,” she added.

“We would like to think that having this artwork here on display for five months will attract a lot of visitors to Bristol.”

The label by the piece reads: “Banksy, born 1974. Devolved Parliament. Oil paint and digital print, 2009. Generously loaned from a private collection.”

When this work was shown 10 years ago it caused a real stir and was one of the highlights of the Banksy vs Bristol Museum exhibition. It feels like a timely chance to revisit the work
Philip Walker, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Exhibition curator Philip Walker said: “When this work was shown 10 years ago it caused a real stir and was one of the highlights of the Banksy vs Bristol Museum exhibition.

“It feels like a timely chance to revisit the work and a great opportunity to share Banksy’s largest known work on canvas with the public again.”

Press Association

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