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Turf War, 2003


Turf War, 2003
Edition: 750 (150 signed)

‘The original Thug. Immortalized here is the moment turf was placed on the statue of the big man during London’s May Day riots. Arguably the best piece of vandalism this country has seen in over a decade.’

Turf War
reproduces a famous portrait of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to which was added a bright green mohawk. Considered to be one of the 20th century’s most significant political figures, Churchill is best remembered for his wartime triumphs rather than his messy dealings with colonialism. Banksy’s used a famous 1941 photograph taken by Yussuf Karsh which is seen as an historical reference to the Prime Minister’s leadership during World War II and his persistence through adversity.
Yussuf Karsh, Winston Churchill, 1941
However, this is no tribute; here Banksy appears to be denouncing the constant battles for borders and territory that have come to define 20th and 21st century politics at great cost to civilian lives. Turf War is titled after Banksy’s early solo exhibition of the same name, which took place in London in 2003. The original painting for Turf War was suspended from the ceiling. At that occasion, Churchill, no longer bald, has been brought into the punk era by Banksy with a striking new hair style.
Turf War, London, 2003
The bright green hair is the only splash of color in the print, with the rest in typical black and white, which is a frequent motif used by the artist in his prints. As with many Banksy artworks, this image has been co-opted and appears across tote bags, posters, coasters and t-shirts across the web. The title Turf War, seems to suggest that war is little more than just that, a squabble over territory.
The bright green Mohauk is also clearly a witty allusion to Churchill‘s appetite for land…
Turf War was released for the price of GBP 150 for a signed print and GBP 34.99 for an unsigned print.


Turf War

Year: 2003
Medium: Screen-print in colors on wove paper
Size: 50×35 cm (19 1/2 x 13 5/8 inches)
Publisher: Pictures on Walls


Edition: 750 (of which 150 signed)


Updated as of 15 March 2023


1. Turf War (unsigned)

Turf War (unsigned), 2003
Numbered in pencil from the edition of 750
Forum Auctions: 19 July 2022
Estimated: GBP 24,000 – 32,000
Hammer: GBP 24,000
GBP 32,160 / USD 39,557

Turf War (unsigned), 2003
Numbered XXX/750 in pencil, lower right
Roseberys London: 8 March 2022
GBP 32,160 / USD 43,738


2. Turf War (signed)


Turf War (signed) sold once at auction in 2020 for GBP 112,560 (USD 149,705) at Forum Auctions on 27 October 2020. It had not sold at auction since 2017.
Turf War (signed), 2003
Signed in black ink, Numbered /750
Forum Auctions: 27 October 2020
GBP 112,560 / USD 148,579