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Spray Paint, 2002
Signed Spray Paint Edition of 5
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Joe Syer, Head of Urban & Contemporary Art
Laugh Now is a spray paint stencil on canvas produced by the contemporary street artist Banksy in 2005. The canvas comes in an edition size of 5 and shows a sad looking chimpanzee wearing a sandwich board that says ‘laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge’. The chimpanzee takes on anthropomorphic qualities and appears to be standing like a human with slouched shoulders. The animal is staring at the ground and seems to be avoiding the gaze of the viewer.
Banksy renders the chimpanzee using black and white spray paint against a plain white backdrop. The chimpanzee dominates the centre of the composition and the viewer’s attention is focussed on the words that are typed out on the sandwich board that the animal is wearing.
The chimpanzee image has been reproduced in various iterations and is arguably one of Banksy’s most recognisable images along with Girl With Balloon. The versions differ from one another as Banksy adds a different text to the sandwich board. Laugh Now is a notable example of how Banksy uses his artworks to offer foreboding warnings about the future. He also uses art to launch social critiques and spread anti-establishment sentiment.
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