The meaning behind Banksy’s Devolved/ Monkey Parliament – Explained

Devolved Parliament is Banksy’s largest canvas to date, spanning an impressive thirteen feet in length. Painted in 2009, the oil painting is of the House of Commons, in which chimpanzees replace politicians in a scene of chaos and monkey business.

‘You paint 100 chimpanzees and they still call you a guerrilla artist’


The artwork was showcased on two occasions at the prestigious Bristol Museum, firstly in the year 2009 and then a decade later in 2019, drawing significant attention.

Banksy ‘Devolved Parliament’ Bristol Museum 2019. Photo Credit GraffitiStreet

The detailed canvas was first exhibited in the artists’ ‘Banksy versus Bristol Museum’ exhibition in 2009 titled ‘Question Time‘. The canvas reappeared ten years later to mark Bristol Museum’s 10th anniversary and Britain’s originally planned exit from the European Union on 29 March 2019. The artist reworked the painting and retitled it ‘Devolved Parliament‘. The main difference between ‘Devolved Parliament‘ and the original ‘Question Time‘ is that the lights in Parliament were painted out, while the upturned banana of a monkey in the foreground now faces downwards and other subtle adjustments. Read more here.

Banksy ‘Devolved Parliament’ Bristol Museum 2019. Photo Credit GraffitiStreet

“Devolved Parliament. I made this 10 years ago. Bristol Museum have just put it back on display to mark Brexit day. “Laugh now, but one day no one will be in charge”.”

Banksy wrote on Instagram on 28 March 2019

Devolved Parliament came to auction at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction /Lot 28 on 3rd October 2019.  Pest Control, the art handling service that works on behalf of Banksy, confirmed to Sotheby’s that the painting shown at the Bristol Museum in 2009 was the same one that was up for auction; these are not two separate paintings but one painting that’s been amended sometime in the last decade.

The canvas surpassed its estimated price of 1,500,000 – 2,000,000 GBP. The auctioneer declared “history is being made” when Devolved Parliament sold for a Hammer Price of 8,500,000 GBP, giving a record-breaking final price of 9,879,500 GBP (USD 13,590,000), including premiums and fees.

Banksy: Devolved Parliament

signed; signed, dated 09 on the reverse and variously inscribed on the stretcher

oil on canvas

Unframed: 250 by 420 cm. 98 3/8 by 165 3/8 in.

Framed: 276 by 446 cm. 108 5/8 by 175 1/2 in.

SOLD at Sotheby’s for a record-breaking final price of 9,879,500 GBP (USD 13,590,000), including premium and fees.

Banksy: Devolved Parliament. Image copyright Sothebys Auction

Monkey Parliament was an Offset Lithograph released in 2009 during his Banksy v. Bristol  Museum Show. This was a true poster authorised by Banksy and the Bristol Museum and featured the image of his original painting with the lights on and the upward-turned banana.

Banksy: Monkey Parliament, 2009

Offset Lithograph

20 9/10 × 33 1/10 in | 53 × 84 cm

Banksy – Monkey Parliament

Purchase artwork here

If you’re looking for artwork by Banksy, please check out our store here, where you will find all available works by the guerrilla artist.



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