Banksy painting of chimps in House of Commons described as ‘more pertinent than ever’ amid Brexit chaos

Painting was put on display again in March to mark the original date set for Britain to leave the EU

Roisin O'Connor@Roisin_OConnor
Thursday 19 September 2019 11:12

A Banksy painting that shows the House of Commons occupied by chimpanzees is expected to fetch up to £2 million at auction in October.

Devoted Parliament depicts MPs as chimps in the middle of a Commons session, and at 13-feet is the artist’s largest-known work on canvas. It carries the inscription: “Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge.”

The quote was a homage to his piece Laugh Now, which features a stencil image of a chimpanzee wearing a sandwich board reading: ”Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge.”

Devoted Parliament originally painted and displayed in the 2009 exhibition Banksy vs Bristol Museum, which attracted more than 300,000 visitors.

It will go on display at Sotheby’s on 28 September before being auctioned at Bristol Museum’s Contemporary Art Evening on 3 October.

Alex Branczik, European head of contemporary art at Sotheby’s, said Banksy “confronted the burning issues of the day”, and that “regardless of where you sit in the Brexit debate, there’s no doubt that this work is more pertinent now than it has ever been.”

He described it as capturing “unprecedented levels of political chaos” and added that it confirmed Banksy as “the satirical polemicist of our time” and “a modern-day Voltaire”.


The Devoted Parliament auction will take place one year after Banksy infamously self-destructed his artwork immediately after a winning bid was placed at Sotheby’s.

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