By Will GompertzArts editor
A new Banksy artwork has appeared at Southampton General Hospital.
The largely monochrome painting, which is one square metre, was hung in collaboration with the hospital’s managers in a foyer near the emergency department.
It shows a young boy kneeling by a wastepaper basket dressed in dungarees and a T-shirt.
He has discarded his Spiderman and Batman model figures in favour of a new favourite action hero – an NHS nurse.
The nurse’s arm is outstretched and pointing forward in the fashion of Superman on a mission.
She is wearing a facemask, a nurse’s cape, and an apron with the Red Cross emblem (the only element of colour in the picture).
The artist left a note for hospital workers, which read: “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if its only black and white.”
The painting will remain at Southampton General Hospital until the autumn when it will be auctioned to raise money for the NHS.
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 recognise the outstanding contribution everyone in and with the NHS is making, in unprecedented times, is a huge honour.”
She added: “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.”
The artwork is now on view to staff and patients on Level C of the Southampton General.