British street artist Banksy has donated one of his works, valued at over $1 million, in support of a hospital in Palestine.
The triptych will be auctioned at Sotheby’s to contribute towards a new stroke unit and buy children’s rehabilitation equipment at a hospital in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.
The work, entitled Mediterranean Sea View 2017, is divided into three sections, and is displayed at the Walled Off Hotel, Banksy’s hotel in the occupied city which sits right next to Israel’s illegal Separation Wall.
The masterpiece comprises three oil paintings depicting views of raging seas and shoreline littered with orange life jackets and buoys, alluding “to the lives lost at sea during the European migrant ‘crisis’ of the 2010s”, according to the description on Sotheby’s site.
“This work juxtaposes an historic fine art genre with grim contemporaneity,” Sotheby’s said in its sales listing for the triptych.
“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.”
Banksy frequently addresses the struggle of Palestinians.
In December, the British artist brought a sombre Christmas spirit to the hotel with a nativity display dubbed “Scar of Bethlehem”, evoking the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which features a miniature Jesus, Mary and Joseph under a rendition of Israel’s concrete West Bank barrier punctured by bullet holes.
Israel claims the barrier that cuts through the West Bank has been set for its “security”, however Palestinians see it as a symbol of oppression in Israeli-occupied land designated as part of their future state.
In 2018, Banksy caused a frenzy after bringing a piece of the wall to central London and featuring it at the World Travel Market at London’s Excel as part of a stand held by Palestine.