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Banksy 'brightens up' Southampton hospital with tribute to nurses

The work has been installed in collaboration with hospital managers and will be auctioned later this year to benefit the NHS

Banksy's latest work has been installed at the Southampton General Hospital Banksy

The street artist Banksy has paid homage to the true superheroes of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic: nurses.

In a mostly black-and-white painting that has been installed at the Southampton General Hospital near the building’s emergency department, the artist depicts a child playing with a masked nurse doll in NHS uniform, while Marvel superheroes like Batman and Spiderman have been tossed aside in a bin.

The work has been installed in collaboration with hospital managers and will be auctioned later this year to raise money for the NHS.

In a note to health care workers in the hospital, the artist wrote: “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s only black and white.” And in an Instagram post the artist published today—which coincides with National Nurses Day in the US—Banksy has captioned the image: “Game changer.”

“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,” Paula Head, the chief executive of the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, told the BBC.

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.”