Game Changer, by the anonymous graffiti artist Banksy, initially appeared in a foyer at Southampton General Hospital during the first wave of the pandemic. The artist left a note for hospital workers, which read: "Thanks for all you're doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s only black and white."
The monochrome painting, which is one square metre, shows a young boy kneeling by a wastepaper basket dressed in dungarees and a T-shirt. He has discarded his Spiderman and Batman model figures in favour of a new favourite action hero, an NHS nurse.
The nurse's arm is outstretched and pointing forward in the fashion of Superman on a mission. She is wearing a facemask, a nurse's cape, and an apron with the Red Cross emblem (the only element of colour in the picture).
Banksy made two works of Game Changer, one remains at Southampton Hospital whilst the second went on to achieve an auction record for the artist through Christie's. The hammer price ended on £14.4m with fees the total figure realised was £16.8m
Christie's said it would be donating "a significant portion" of its premium, meaning a total of "more than £16m" would go to Southampton Hospitals Charity.