Banksy painting raises millions for Palestinian children’s hospital

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)
Banksy painting raises millions for Palestinian children’s hospital
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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

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.


Bahrainis detained by Qatar return to kingdom

Bahrainis detained by Qatar return to kingdom
Updated 20 min 31 sec ago

Bahrainis detained by Qatar return to kingdom

Bahrainis detained by Qatar return to kingdom
  • The 3 were released by Qatari authorities on Thursday and arrived in Bahrain via Oman
  • They were arrested while fishing, Bahrain says they were in territorial waters

DUBAI: Three Bahrainis detained by Qatar have arrived back in the kingdom after Manama helped to extradite their release, the Bahrain News Agency reported on Friday.
Bodybuilding champion Sami Al-Haddad, his friend Mohammed Al-Dossari and fisherman Habib Abbas were released by Qatari authorities on Thursday after they were arrested by Qatari coast and border security while fishing at sea, in two separate incidents. Bahrain said that the three citizens were in the country’s territorial waters.
The three men thanked Bahrain’s King Hamad and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad for the attention and care that they had received, which they said had a great impact on their release and return.
They also thanked the interior ministry, headed by Lt. Gen. Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah, and the foreign ministry, headed by Abdullatif Al-Zayani, for their efforts and the measures that contributed to their safe return.
The men said that they were proud to see the “patriotic interest they received for their cause,” both from the government and the Bahraini people.
Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its “profound thanks and gratitude to Oman for the efforts made by the authorities in the sultanate to coordinate and follow up on the release of Bahraini citizens detained in Qatar and to facilitate their return to Bahrain.”
The three arrived in Oman on Thursday following their release, the kingdom’s embassy in Muscat confirmed.
The ministry said that the release of the citizens by Qatar was “a step that reflects the spirit required toward resolving the outstanding issues between the two countries in order to enhance the process of cooperation between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.”
The statement also said that Bahrain hoped that Qatar would release Asian sailors who work on Bahraini fishing vessels, and take into account their humanitarian situation.
Bahrain, along with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, ended a three-year rift with Qatar on Jan. 5 following a GCC summit in the historic city of AlUla, formally restoring diplomatic relations and opening their land, sea and air borders.