The elusive street artist, Banksy, has produced a new artwork that features a young boy playing with an action figure as he kneels near a small trashcan containing discarded Batman and Spider-Man figurines.
The boy plays with his new superhero— a nurse from Britains National Health Service (NHS).
The nurse wears a cape and is protected by a face mask. Her arm is raised in a powerful gesture of solidarity, and the red cross on the front of her smock is the only bit of color in the 3×3’ monochromatic painting.
According to Sky News, Bansky left a note for hospital staff that read, “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s only black and white.”
The piece, captioned Game Changer by the artist on Instagram, went on display Wednesday, at Southhampton General Hospital in the south of England.
Daniel Winter Bates, a manager at the hospital, tweeted his reaction to the painting.
This is unreal … an official #banksy here at @UHSFT . At times we may not feel heroic but we can redefine the true meaning. Every single staff member, every grade every job description, those on Covid wards, those shielding are home. Thank you for being you pic.twitter.com/APlm8gGga1
— Daniel Winter-Bates (@DanBuryTomorrow) May 6, 2020
Paula Head, CEO of the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our hospital family has been directly impacted with the tragic loss of much loved and respected members of staff and friends. “The fact that Banksy has chosen us to recognize the outstanding contribution everyone in and with the NHS is making, in unprecedented times, is a huge honor.”
“It will be really valued by everyone in the hospital, as people get a moment in their busy lives to pause, reflect and appreciate this piece of art. It will no doubt also be a massive boost to morale for everyone who works and is cared for at our hospital,” Head added.
As the UK government is criticized for its inability to provide sufficient personal protective gear for healthcare workers, as well as widespread testing for the public, gestures of gratitude for the NHS have been happening all over Britain for months.
Since early March when stay-at-home orders were put in place, people in the UK stand at their windows and at their front doors every Thursday evening, to clap and cheer for the NHS.
Last month, Banksy unveiled another COVID-19 inspired work that depicts a bathroom overrun with his trademark stenciled rats along with the caption: “My wife hates it when I work from home.”
And no one knows for sure, but a blue surgical mask appeared recently appeared on Banksy’s previous work Girl with a Pierced Eardrum. Could the famously anonymous artist be responsible for the update?
Banksy’s newest painting will remain on display at Southhampton General Hospital through the lockdown period. It will then be auctioned off to benefit National Health Service Charities, according to Reuters.