Banksy oil paintings auctioned off for £2.2m in aid of Bethlehem hospital

The piece addresses the refugee crisis

Three paintings by Banksy have sold for more than £2.2m at a London auction, with the proceeds going to a hospital in Bethlehem.

The ‘Mediterranean Sea View 2017’ triptych, which addresses the European refugee crisis, went under the hammer yesterday (July 28) at Sotheby’s London branch. The paintings were initially expected to fetch up to £1.2m.

It’s been confirmed that the sale was in aid of the Bethlehem Arab Society For Rehabilitation, who will be using the proceeds to help fund a new acute stroke unit as well as children’s rehabilitation equipment.

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

Prior to the sale, the trio of paintings had been displayed at the Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem which Banksy helped set up back in 2017.

The Bristol-born street artist held the exhibition in a building next to the barrier wall built by Israel in the occupied West Bank region. Priding itself on offering “the worst view in the world”, the instalment also served as a real hotel.

Earlier this month, Banksy debuted a coronavirus-themed artwork on the London Underground, before it was accidentally removed by a cleaner. In June, he also shared an Instagram sketch which saw him comment on Bristol’s toppled statue of Edward Colston.

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