Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 August 2020

Banksy donates three paintings worth Dh5.6 million to raise funds for Bethlehem hospital

The pieces previously hung in the British artist's hotel in Palestine

Proceeds from Banksy's 'Mediterranean Sea View 2017' will benefit the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation hospital. Getty Images 
Proceeds from Banksy's 'Mediterranean Sea View 2017' will benefit the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation hospital. Getty Images 

Banksy has donated a trio of works, which take aim at the European migrant crisis, to raise money for a hospital in Palestine.

The elusive British artist personally donated the triptych – a work of art divided into three sections – to Sotheby’s for the charity auction.

The work, entitled Mediterranean Sea View 2017, originally hung at The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, a hotel established by the artist that is located metres away from the West Bank barrier.

While originally glimpsed as a classic landscape, the trio of paintings actually contain a powerful, politically charged message on further inspection. Stormy cliffs and crashing seas are littered with bright orange lifejackets and buoys, washed ashore with no survivors in sight.

It is estimated to sell for between £800,000 (Dh3.7 million) and £1.2m (Dh5.6m).

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

The piece will be auctioned at Sotheby’s on Tuesday, as part of the Rembrandt to Richter sale.

Proceeds will go towards building a new acute stroke unit and children’s rehabilitation equipment for Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation hospital in Bethlehem.

The Sotheby's sale also includes one of only three self-portraits by Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn left in private hands, as well as a rare Pablo Picasso drawing of his muse, Marie-Therese Walter.

Mediterranean Sea View 2017 was originally painted for and displayed in the lobby of the Walled Off Hotel, the Sotheby's listing details.

Scroll through the gallery below for a look at Banksy's work in Gaza and the West Bank:

All rooms of the hotel overlook a concrete section of the barrier built by Israel to cut off the occupied West Bank from Israeli territory.

The Walled Off Hotel, which is also home to the largest collection of Banksy’s work, opened in 2017 with the intention of operating for only a year but, three years on, it still stands.

Banksy, who has managed to maintain anonymity despite years of making headlines, most recently created a coronavirus-themed mural on a London Underground train.

However, the work, which depicted rats sneezing to illustrate the importance of wearing face masks, was removed by cleaners who did not understand the graffiti's significance.

Updated: July 27, 2020 01:44 PM

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