Banksy Monkey Queen 2003 (Banksy British, b.1974).
Monkey Queen by British artist Banksy depicts a black and white monkey wearing all the ornamentation of a Queen (crown and diamond jewellery) in front of a background of red, white and blue.
This screenprint is a controversial artwork that was created in 2003 with an edition of 600 unsigned prints and only 150 signed prints. The image of the Monkey Queen painted over the Union Jack was publicly displayed at a young people’s club called The Chill Out Zone on Broad Street in Newent. The painting remained on the wall of the club for several months and was then moved to the front window. This made headlines when many locals complained the painting was disrespectful to the monarchy and to the national flag. This event was even referred to in the news as “Banksygate”. The youth centre was asked not to display this image during the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and its funding from The Newent Initiative Trust was even cut, thus questioning the right to free speech and freedom of expression but also British sense of humour. Youth leaders eventually replaced the painting with a more mainstream Union flag poster.
Created in 2003, Banksy’s screenprint Monkey Queen superimposes a monkey face stencilled onto Queen Elizabeth II’s iconic bust image. Only her hair, crown and jewellery are recognisable. The black-and-white stencilled face appears on a background composed of red, white and blue whose form resembles a target. The background immediately evokes the Union flag. In 2012, Banksy painted another portrait of Queen Elizabeth II which was much less controversial. The monarch appeared with Ziggy Stardust’s iconic makeup in the streets of the artist’s home city Bristol. The Queen wearing a fur coat, a pearl necklace, her crown and Ziggy’s bright red makeup was painted on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee to honour her 60 years on the throne.
Monkey Queen is an excellent example of what Banksy's art consists in. His satirical image clearly targets the British government. By comparing the monarch to a primitive animal, the artist suggests that the country is led by unqualified people. The figure of the monkey, Banksy's trademark, is reminiscent of his earlier work Laugh Now in which a depressed monkey wearing a sandwich board prophesizes a society run by primates.
Signed limited edition with official Pest Control Certificate
Height 25.5” inches / 65cm
Width 19.5” inches / 50cm
Depth 1” inches / 2.5cm.