The anonymous street artist depicted U.K. lawmakers as chimpanzees in the House of Commons in the “Devolved Parliament” piece that returned to the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery on Thursday.
“I made this ten years ago,” Banksy wrote on Instagram of the canvas, which measures 4 meters by 2.5 meters. “Bristol museum have just put it back on display to mark Brexit day.”
Friday was supposed to mark the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union, almost three years since the public referendum on the issue. However, the date has now been pushed back after members of Parliament failed to agree on a way forward.
“Laugh now, but one day no-one will be in charge,” Banksy added in his caption, in what appeared to be a direct reference to the country’s current political stalemate.
It is a tweaked version of a quote that adorned some of his earlier works:
The artwork’s unidentified owner approached the museum with the idea of showing it again “just a few weeks ago,” reports the local Bristol Post newspaper.
“It was great then and it’s great now,” museum trustee Yoma Smith told the BBC. “Ten years on, it’s so much more relevant now than as it was then. Is Banksy a visionary? Did he paint it thinking it would happen?”
Banksy has commented on Brexit and the divisions within the U.K., either directly or indirectly, several times in recent years. In May 2017, he unveiled this Brexit-themed mural in Dover in southeast England:
He shared this “Untied Kingdom” piece to Instagram the following month:
In June 2018, he revealed how he’d entered “an early version” of his “Vote to Love” piece about the referendum into the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition using the pseudonym Bryan S Gaakman (an anagram of “Banksy Anagram”).
It was refused by the judging panel. He was later invited to submit a piece. He sent in the same one and it was accepted.
During the 2018 soccer World Cup in Russia, he showcased this “Fragile” flag ahead of England’s quarter-final tie against Sweden.
And in August of last year, he posted this photo of a doctored road sign in Clevedon, southwest England, showing two elderly people being carried by children, which was interpreted as a critique on the Brexit vote.