Banksy donates new artwork honoring health care workers to hospital

Allen Kim, CNN

    (CNN) -- Street artist Banksy unveiled a new artwork honoring health care workers that he donated to the University Hospital Southampton (UHS) in the UK.

The artwork, which Banksy has titled "Game Changer," features a child playing with a nurse doll wearing a face mask and cape. Figures of superheroes Batman and Spider-Man can be seen in a wastebasket on the floor.

The hospital has, with Banksy's approval, entitled the piece "Painting for Saints," according to a spokeswoman for UHS. The name is a reference to the city's Premier League football team, which is affectionately known as "The Saints."

The BBC reported that the artist included a note for the hospital that read: "Thanks for all you're doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if its only black and white."

UHS did not immediately respond to a request to confirm the message that the artist left for the hospital. Banksy has, however, confirmed that the artwork is his, after he posted it on Instagram.

UHS chief executive Paula Head showcased the new work in a tweet. It is now framed and is temporarily on display at the hospital.

"So proud to reveal this amazing piece of art Painting for Saints, created by #Banksy as a thank you to all those who work with and for the NHS (National Health Service) and our hospital," Head tweeted. "An inspirational backdrop to pause and reflect in these unprecedented times."

Last month, Banksy reacted to the UK's coronavirus lockdown by sharing images of illustrated rats running amok in his bathroom. "My wife hates it when I work from home," the anonymous artist wrote in an accompanying caption on Instagram.

Banksy isn't the only high-profile artist to honor Britain's health care workers in recent weeks. Damien Hirst created a rainbow-inspired artwork titled "Butterfly Rainbow," in order to "pay tribute to the wonderful work NHS staff are doing in hospitals around the country," according to his website. Profits from Hirst's limited-edition work will be donated to the health service.

At least 30,076 people have died with coronavirus in the UK, an increase of 649 from the day before, Britain's Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Wednesday.

The number of people in the UK who have tested positive for the virus stands at 201,101, and there are 13,615 people in hospitals with Covid-19, which is down from 13,922 from the day before.

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