Laugh Now is one of the earlier and thus highly desirable unsigned Banksy screen prints in colour from a limited edition of 600, released in 2003.
‘Laugh Now But One Day We’ll Be In Charge’, reads the sandwich board worn by the slightly ominous monkey replicated against a striking red background in this 1998 Banksy original, which first appeared in a Brighton nightclub in 2002 before going onto being released as a print the following year.
Much like with Banksy’s visual vocabulary in general, there can be various interpretations for the monkey figure in this work. It can be viewed as a representation of the oppressed, who walk the streets until they’re exhausted in order to spread their message. Such sandwich boards are usually associated with “prophets of doom”, preaching the looming apocalypse on the streets. Or perhaps it is simply a monkey, by which Banksy is commenting on how man has enslaved animals for centuries, including our distant primate relatives, much like he does in the work Barcode with a leopard. It could also be a symbol for the common man of the working class, who is exploited, exhausted and enslaved by capitalism, themes that Banksy regularly revisits through a range of various characters such as a rat in other famous prints like Love Rat and Gangsta Rat.
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