Banksy parliament artwork unveiled at Bristol museum in time for Brexit

By Claire Hayhurst, Press Association

Banksy’s largest canvas has gone back on display in Bristol – just in time for the original Brexit deadline of March 29.

The piece, Devolved Parliament, depicts politicians in the House of Commons as chimpanzees.

It was first shown at the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery in 2009, as part of the Banksy vs Bristol Museum exhibition.

Devolved Parliament was then purchased by an unnamed collector, who has loaned it to the museum to mark a decade since its first unveiling.

Banksy gave his permission for the piece, which is 13ft (4m) wide, to go back on display.

A woman takes a picture of the artwork (Steve Parsons/PA)

In 2009, Banksy said of the piece: “You paint 100 chimpanzees and they still call you a guerrilla artist.”

Members of the public will be able to view Devolved Parliament free of charge at the museum, in Bristol’s busy Queen’s Road, for five months.

Four art conservators spent nine hours erecting the piece in the museum’s front hall – where Banksy’s Paint Pot Angel has been on display since 2009.

A passer-by views Banksy’s painting Devolved Parliament at Bristol Museum (Steve Parsons/PA)

Yoma Smith, trustee of Bristol Museums Development Trust, described Banksy as “Bristol’s son” and said she expected the artwork to be very popular.

“It’s great art, and great art is a reflection of society,” she said.

“It raises a mirror to society and discusses the mood and landscape. That’s what Banksy does.

“He points a mirror back at society, so this is exciting for us, it’s exciting for the museum and it’s really exciting for Bristol.”

She said the artwork had been returned to the museum to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Banksy’s exhibition.

Banksy vs Bristol Museum was one of the most successful exhibitions in the world, Ms Smith said.

“I queued outside for it – the queues were down the street,” she added.

“We would like to think that having this artwork here on display for five months will attract a lot of visitors to Bristol.”

The label by the piece reads: “Banksy, born 1974. Devolved Parliament. Oil paint and digital print, 2009. Generously loaned from a private collection.”

Exhibition curator Philip Walker said: “When this work was shown 10 years ago it caused a real stir and was one of the highlights of the Banksy vs Bristol Museum exhibition.

“It feels like a timely chance to revisit the work and a great opportunity to share Banksy’s largest known work on canvas with the public again.”