Banksy artwork used in local charity single

The anonymous British street artist, Banksy, has given permission for a compelling piece of his artwork, which celebrates the superhero efforts of NHS staff, to be used in a video for a new charity single by a local group of musicians.
Game Changer  by BanksyGame Changer  by Banksy
Game Changer by Banksy

The north Belfast musicians, part of the New Space Finders project, spent time in Bristol during the 1990s and were friendly with the secretive stenciller.

Their new single, entitled Superheroes, is set against Banksy’s Game Changer image –- a piece which the elusive artist left recently at Southampton General Hospital and depicts a boy dressed in dungarees playing with a nurse superhero toy, with figures of Batman and Spider-Man discarded in a bin.

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The nurse, wearing a face mask and a white apron featuring a red cross, has her arm raised as if she is flying, with a cape fluttering behind her.

Banksy left a note for hospital workers, saying: “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s only black and white.”

After lockdown measures are lifted, the piece – which is approximately one metre square – will be put on public display. It will then be auctioned to raise money for NHS charities, a spokeswoman for Banksy confirmed.

Francis Kane, who co-produced the New Space Finders song with Ludwig and Sean O’Neill, said it was written before lockdown, but was recorded during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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‘‘The record was made by getting musicians from around the world to email their overdubs to a private recording studio in north Belfast.

‘‘The bass player was in the USA, one guitarist in France, the other in England, while the organ player, percussionist, flute player and teenage backing singer were in north Belfast – but they too, of course, could only email their work due to lockdown, so it made no difference how far away each musician was from the other as long as they could record their parts well.”

Mr Kane’s 16-year-old niece Ailbhe Kane provides backing vocals on the track, which he describes as a “very pretty song with a deep message”.

‘‘It isn’t overtly political, it is just art. The charity that the music is for is an organic, vegetable growing co-operative farm in Cornwall. The people grow food, they don’t make profit.”

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Commenting on the Banksy artwork, Mr Kane said: “I am really pleased the two things, the art and the single, go together. The song came first, but his picture is almost like a picture of the song and the song is about the picture.”

• The single Superheroes can be found at: Donations are welcomed.

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