Banksy painting raises millions for Palestinian children’s hospital

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One of the three canvases in Banksy’s triptych, “Mediterranean Sea View 2017.” (Photo courtesy/Sotheby's)
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The money raised will be put toward an acute stroke unit and children’s rehabilitation equipment. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 30 July 2020

Banksy painting raises millions for Palestinian children’s hospital

  • The work was based on three romantic-period oil paintings of the sea
  • In recent years, the twin issues of the Mediterranean migration crisis and the Israel-Palestine conflict have played a major role in his work

LONDON: A triptych by British artist Banksy of the Mediterranean Sea depicting the European refugee crisis has sold for more than £2.2 million ($2.9 million) at auction in London.

The three-paneled work, “Mediterranean Sea View 2017,” was put up for sale at Sotheby’s auction house on July 29, where it was initially expected to fetch £1.2 million for a children’s hospital in the West Bank, the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation.

The money raised will be put toward an acute stroke unit and children’s rehabilitation equipment.

The work was based on three romantic-period oil paintings of the sea, and depicted life jackets, oars and other detritus on the shore from abandoned refugee boats — a comment on the mass movement of people from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe due to a series of ongoing natural and man-made events, including the wars in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

“In ‘Mediterranean Sea View 2017,’ Banksy corrupts three found oil paintings with his own witty re-workings to create something that, while posing as a 19th-century seascape, spotlights one of the burning issues of the 21st century,” said Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s head of contemporary art for Europe.

“This triptych hangs in Sotheby’s galleries alongside works by some of history’s greatest landscape painters, including Bellotto, Van Goyen and Turner. Banksy’s work, however, stands alone for its potent political message.”

Banksy, who keeps his true identity a well-guarded secret, rose to international prominence on the back of graffiti art with strong themes of political and social commentary.

In recent years, the twin issues of the Mediterranean migration crisis and the Israel-Palestine conflict have played a major role in his work.

In 2015, he created an interactive work in the form of dystopian theme park “Dismaland,” in the British town of Weston-super-Mare, featuring refugee boats and anarchist themes.

He also opened the Walled-Off Hotel in Bethlehem in 2017, a play on the name of the famous Waldorf hotel chain.

The Walled-Off Hotel boasts the “worst view of any hotel in the world,” located next to Israel’s barrier wall in the West Bank.

Guests can experience just 25 minutes of direct sunlight per day. “Mediterranean Sea View 2017” had previously hung in the hotel. 

In “The Son of a Migrant from Syria,” daubed on a wall in a French migrant camp dubbed “The Jungle” in the port of Calais in 2015, Banksy showed the deceased billionaire founder of tech giant Apple, Steve Jobs, as a refugee, carrying nothing but a sack of belongings and an early Apple computer. Jobs’s biological father Abdulfattah Jandali was from the Syrian city of Homs. 

Banksy’s most recent work involved spraying a train carriage on the London Underground with messages about COVID-19.

Controversy was caused when it emerged that it was removed as part of routine cleaning by the network’s operator, Transport for London.


More tribal clashes in Sudanese city; death toll at 25

Updated 5 min 2 sec ago

More tribal clashes in Sudanese city; death toll at 25

  • Fighting erupted this week between Beni Amer tribe and the displaced Nuba tribe

CAIRO, Juba: Tribal clashes that have gripped a Sudanese port city over the past three days have killed at least 25 people and wounded scores, a doctors’ association said on Wednesday.

The fighting in Port Sudan in the eastern province of Red Sea erupted earlier this week between the Beni Amer tribe and the displaced Nuba tribe. It was not the first time the two tribes clashed in Port Sudan or elsewhere in the county.

The clashes prompted local authorities on Tuesday to impose a round-the-clock curfew across the city. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said on Wednesday that troops have been deployed to Port Sudan to help contain the fighting.

He urged political parties in eastern Sudan to cooperate with local authorities to “protect security and social peace.”

The Sudan Doctors’ Committee said the clashes continued until late on Tuesday. The death toll climbed to 25, after 13 people were initially reported killed on Tuesday, it said. At least 87 others were wounded.

The committee is part of the Sudanese Professionals’ Association that spearheaded nationwide protests against longtime leader Omar Bashir. The military ousted Bashir amid the protests in April last year.

Local media reported that several houses and shops were set on fire amid the violence in Port Sudan.

The tensions between the two tribes date back to May 2019 in the eastern city of Qadarif, mainly over water and other resources. The clashes flared up in August last year in Port Sudan, when at least three dozen people from both sides were killed. They also clashed in January in the port city, when nine people were killed.

The tribal violence poses a significant challenge to efforts of Sudan’s transitional authorities to stabilize the country amid a fragile transition to democracy.