Banksy & Charity

10 Causes Supported by the Artist
September 14, 2023
Banksy Game Changer

Game Changer

Game Changer was created in support of NHs workers during the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 and appeared overnight at Southampton General Hospital in May. The work appeared with the note, “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s only black and white.”

In the work we see a young boy wearing a facemask playing with toys. Instead of the usual batman or spiderman, the boy is playing with a nurse doll with a red cross on her apron - s superhero of the time. To further express the message that the frontline health workers were superheroes we see  symbolically Batman and Spiderman have been ditched to the wastepaper basket to the side.

Game Changer sold for £16.8 million at Christie’s 20th Century Art Evening Sale in London on 23 March 2021, exactly one year to the day of the UK’s first national lockdown. The painting was the most expensive Banksy artwork at auction at the time. Proceeds were used to support the wellbeing of NHS University Southampton Hospital staff and patients. Banksy continues to be one of few steady markets to escape the financial crisis of Covid-19, and for a good cause at that.

Our co-founder Ian Syer commented after the sale: “On such a symbolic day of national reflection, we should give thanks to two national treasures, our wonderful NHS for their selfless heroism and Banksy for his enormous generosity and foresight in capturing the nation’s mood, yet again cementing him as the most relevant artist of modern history. Game Changer is a new record and means the NHS stands to benefit to the tune of almost £17m, a truly spectacular result.” Game Changer would become one of Banksy's most expesnive artworks


Banksy game changer painting

M.Y Michel Louise

Humanitarian causes are important to the artist and previously, Banksy has also funded a rescue boat to save refugees encountering danger in the Mediterranean Sea. The boat, named the Louise Michel, was bought with proceeds from some of the Bristol street artist's works. The vessel features a painting depicting a young girl holding on to a heart-shaped safety float. Banksy repainted the former French Navy boat in distinctive white and pink and launched it under its new guise last week. The Louise Michel is named after a 19th Century French anarchist and is captained by a professional crew with a "flat hierarchy and a vegan diet". The vessel's mission statement is "to uphold maritime law and rescue anyone in peril without prejudice".

"We on board the Louise Michel believe we are all individuals, nationality should not make a difference to what rights one has and how we treat each other," it says on its website."We answer the SOS call of all those in distress, not just to save their souls - but our own."


Banksy funds refugee rescue boat operating in Mediterranean | Refugees |  The Guardian

Bataclan Mural

The PAris terror attacks in 2015 were the biggest terrorist attacks in France.130 people lost their lives in the city that night. One of the locations attacked was the famous Bataclan music venue which was the deadliest attack of the night where Californian rock group Eagles of Death Metal was playing. The 1,500-seat Bataclan hall was sold out.

The work, titled "Sad Girl" was stencilled as a tribute to the 90 people murdered in a 2015 terror attack on the venue. In the artwork, in stark black and white, we see a young girl, her face in mourning as her eyes look to the ground. Sombre and bleak, the memorial is a poignant show of support to those affected. Sadly the in 2019, the door with the artwork was removed with angle grinders by thieves, along with several other Banksy artworks that appeared across Paris in 2018. Fortunately, in June 2020 the artwork was recovered by Italian police in the Abruzzo region.


A stolen work by Banksy resurfaces in Italy

Love in the the Air

In the artist’s own words, the wall “essentially turns Palestine into the world’s largest open prison”.  Returning to the disputed region in 2005, the artist produced a further nine works in support of the freeing of Palestine against oppression and imperialism. Fast forwarding 10 years, 2015 witnessed the artist produce a further four works amongst the bombed out ruins of the Gaza strip and opened the Walled of Hotel in Bethlehem that proudly boasts  ‘worst view in the world’.

Whilst being associated with the Israel Palestine conflict the image itself is universal. Visually, the piece is characteristic of the artist’s street stencil graffiti style and, in typical Banksy aplomb, features a contrasting image that can be interpreted as playful as well as more serious. Central to the image the figure, silhouetted in black and dressed as a militant, wears a baseball cap and bandana to disguise their identity in a pose commonly associated with the throwing of a petrol bomb. However, the “Banksy twist” reverses this notion as the figure throws a bouquet of flowers. 


Homeless Sleigh

Created at Christmas 2019 in Birmingham. UK the work is a powerful message of the plight of homelessness. In the large scale mural, we see two reindeers stencilled onto the wall that interact with a bench that had a homeless man, Ryan, sleeping on it. The work was accompanied by a film that appeared on Banksy’s Instagram showing people giving our food and drink to Ryan whilst the artwork was being made. The video was captioned with, God bless Birmingham. In the 20 minutes we filmed Ryan on this bench passers-by gave him a hot drink, two chocolate bars and a lighter – without him ever asking for anything.” Banksy created t-shirts and merchandise featuring the image that were sold to raise money for homeless charities in Birmingham including The Wild Goose, 1625 Independent People, Feed the Homeless Bristol and Somewhere to Go.


Banksy's Birmingham artwork highlighting homelessness ...

Save or Delete

Collaborating with Greenpeace, in 2002 for their “Save or Delete” campaign, Banksy produced an artwork to highlight deforestation featuring characters from Disney’s Jungle Book tied up and blindfolded in front of a background of a destroyed jungle. 

The image was destined to be used on posters, advertising boards and postcards which were printed ut pulled at the last minute due to Disney’s copyright policies. Eagerly sought after by collectors, the work is a powerful reminder of the importance of preserving and protecting our planet. 


Banksy - Save or Delete (Greenpeace) for Sale | Artspace

The Banality of Evil

Better Out Than In (the title referencing a quote by impressionist Paul Cézanne, "All pictures painted inside, in the studio, will never be as good as those done outside.) was a residency undertaken by Banksy in New York City during October 2013. Banksy unveiled at least one work of art daily, documenting it on both a dedicated website and an Instagram account. The majority of the works were stencil graffiti and chiefly political, a distinctive characteristic of Banksy. Other pieces and multimedia exhibits toyed with dark humour and satire. The month-long residency drew controversy amongst some locals for its more politically strong pieces, and received mixed reviews from critics. Highlights of the residency included the stunt where an old man was selling original Banksy paintings outside of Central Park for $60 USD, Waiting in Vain (the show's 24th instalment) illustrated a man in a tuxedo holding flowers, presumably jilted by his date, and Sirens of the Lambs, where a military-style cargo truck filled with squealing, stuffed animatronic livestock was driven around the Meatpacking District.

Part of the popup was the work, “The Banality of Evil” which featured a repurposed oil painting landscape with a Nazi figure. The title of the work is a reference to the German-American political theorist Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil – a 1963 publication that followed her reporting for The New Yorker on the infamous trial of Holocaust organiser and Nazi lieutenant colonel, Adolf Eichmann. 

The work was returned to the charity shop with a note explaining that it was a Banksy original work and subsequently auctioned off for $615,000 USD with all proceeds going to Housing Works Charity supporting the city’s homeless 


In the News: Banksy

Welcome Mat

Many of Banksy’s most powerful works and stunts have featured the causes of refugees. Indeed, throughout his career, Banksy has used his work to draw attention to the issue. Two works appeared at his GDP pop-up in 2019 in Croydon “Welcome Mat” and “Early Leanring Set”. 

Welcome mat is a door mat that featured hand-stitched life vests that spelt out "welcome" and were found on Greek beaches from refugees making the dangerous crossing from Africa into Europe. Indeed, the work was a collaboration with social enterprise Love Welcomes which helps refugees in camps and pays them a wage to help find dignity and teach vital skills to integrate into their new country. 

All proceeds from the sale went to the creation of more jobs for women, protecting and sustaining families and supporting these important services within the community.


Early Counting Set

The tagline for Early Counting Set says, "Engage all your child’s learning muscles with this fun counting game.  See how many figures they can fit in the truck while it makes a quick stop. Wipe clean finish, contains small parts unsuitable for under 12’s.

Proceeds from the sale of this item are used  to support migrant rescue missions in the Mediterranean. Italian courts have ruled this illegal, so customers are advised the purchase of this item could constitute a criminal offence."

Early Learning Counting Set makes reference to the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, in which thousands of people have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean and the English Channel in a bid to escape the oppressive regimes or ongoing conflicts of their mother countries.


Civilian Drone Strike

Civilian Drone Strike was auctioned by the artist in 2017 and raised a total of £205,000 GBP for the Campaign Against Arms Trade and Reprieve.

The work shows three Predator drones dropping bombs on a child’s drawing of a house. Sold through Art the Arms Fair which was a week-long exhibition which took place at the same time as the Defence and Security Equipment International Arms Fair in east London in the same week, which brought together many activists and protesters.


Banksy's newest artwork takes aim at arms trade | CNN

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Acoris Andipa