Monkey Queen, 2003
Oil and Emulsion on canvas
92×92 cm (36 1/4 x 36 1/4 inches)
Stenciled with the artist’s name on the right lateral edge
Banksy: The unauthorized retrospective, S/2 London, Curated by Steve Lazarides, 2014
“Celebrate the fact the highest position in British society is not a reward for talent or hard work, but simply handed out with the accident of birth. God Save The Queen.”
Monkey Queen portrays a monkey in front of a red, white and blue background clearly evocative of the Union Jack. Created on the occasion of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Monkey Queen superimposes the black and white stenciled face of a monkey onto Queen Elizabeth II’s iconic bust image.
In a society run by our primate cousins as often prophesized by Banksy, having a Monkey Queen would be the ultimate in monkeys taking over. This print raises issues regarding the right to freedom of speech and of expression, but also questions the actual power of world’s leaders in various times of history.