Banksy’s love letter to the EU is going up for sale a few days before Valentine’s Day.

                             Banksy’s Vote To Love. Courtesy: Sotheby’s

In a timely auction, just over ten days after the UK leaves the European Union and a few days before Valentine’s Day, Banksy’s Vote to Love is going up for auction at Sotheby’s UK.

Continuing the overtly political theme to his oeuvre, the anonymous Street Artist created the artwork in 2018 by vandalising one of the “Vote to Leave” placards from the 2016 Brexit campaign.

The placard was given the Banksy treatment, with a red heart-shaped balloon sprayed floating up past the placard’s slogan, seemingly changing the word “leave” to “love”. Sotheby’s calls the work “a message of optimism at a time of increasing divisiveness in global politics.”

Surprisingly, the piece was initially rejected by The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition 2018 show after Banksy originally submitted the work under the pseudonym Bryan S. Gaakman – an anagram of ‘Banksy anagram’.

Unsurprisingly however, when it was re-submitted – this time under more renowned pseudonym of Banksy – it was snapped up by the show. True to style, Banksy continued his prank by pricing his Vote Love piece in the exhibition catalogue at £350million – this was the amount plastered on the notorious “Vote Leave” bus which claimed that Brexit would save the NHS £350million per week.

Banksy’s Vote Love on display at the Summer Exhibition 2018. Courtesy: The Royal Academy

The work (signed and dated) is now estimated to achieve a fraction of that price at £400,000 to £600,000. But, as the well timed sale of the piece will be less than two weeks after Britain’s exit from the EU, how much it will achieve in reality remains to be seen.

Vote to Love will go up for auction on February 11 as part of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction, alongside Francis Bacon, David Hockney, Yves Klein, Bridget Riley and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

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