Anonymous England-based street artist Banksy’s ‘Mediterranean Sea View 2017’ triptych has raised almost $3 million at a Sotheby’s ‘Rembrandt to Richter Evening Sale’ auction on Tuesday, with the proceeds being donated to a Palestinian children’s hospital in Bethlehem in the West Bank.
The money was said to have been donated by Banksy to build a new acute stroke unit and obtain children's rehabilitation equipment for the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation (BASR), according to the Sotheby's web-site.
The artwork, which addresses the European refugee crisis in recent years, was first displayed in the Walled Off Hotel designed by co-founder Banksy in the city of Bethlehem in 2017. The triptych features orange life vests washed up on a rocky shore of the Mediterranean Sea.
Can anyone lend me £1.2m?— Mark Rees (@reviewwales) July 28, 2020
"Banksy auctions refugee painting to aid Bethlehem hospital: The triptych Mediterranean Sea View 2017 will go under the hammer at Sotheby's after the artist donated them to help the children's hospital."https://t.co/z1RIz1dA72 pic.twitter.com/0LszAtlSem
“This work juxtaposes an historic fine art genre with grim contemporaneity,” Sotheby’s said in its sales listing for the artwork. “Though posing as eighteenth or nineteenth-century paintings of the ‘Natural Sublime’, the present work undermines and subverts the viewer’s expectations to broach a difficult contemporary issue.”
The elusive and still anonymous UK-based street artist commented a rare public remark on the piece, expressing his personal thoughts on the dark and light sides of migration.
“We’re often led to believe migration is a drain on the country’s resources, but Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian immigrant,” Banksy said. “Apple is the world’s most profitable company […] and it only exists because they allowed in a young man from Homs.”