Banksy Trend Report Q2

Monkey
Queen

Find out more about Banksy's Monkey Queen series, browse prints & editions for sale & view the works wanted by active buyers right now.

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Critical Review

Overt in its anti-royalist sentiment, Banksy’s Monkey Queen was first produced in 2003, and made headlines as a result of its ‘disrespect.’ Pictures on Walls described the work as being a chance to “Celebrate the fact that the highest position in British society is not a reward for talent or hard work but is simply handed out with the accident of birth. God Save The Queen”.

It is perhaps unsuprising that this Banksy print is one of the artist's more contraversial, with Monkey Queen superimposing the black and white stencilled face of a monkey onto Queen Elizabeth II’s iconic bust image. Only her hair, crown and jewellery are identifiable. The monochrome visage appears on a target background composed of red, white and blue, immediately evocative of the Union Jack.

First displayed as a wall painting at The Chill Out Zone youth club on Broad Street in Newent, Monkey Queen remained on the wall for several months before being moved to the front window. This move made headlines following complaints that the painting was disrespectful to the monarchy and to the national flag, with the arguement being dubbed in the media as 'Banksygate.'

The youth club was asked by the government not to display this image during the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, which also raised issues regarding the right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression in the UK. Following the controversy, The Chill Out Zone eventually replaced the painting with a more palatable poster of the Union Jack.