Monkey Parliment

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Banksy first unveiled Monkey Parliament at an exhibition of The Bristol Museum in 2009. In this painting chimps take the place of the members of parliament at the House of Commons in London, and are in the middle of a session. The painting gives a detailed depiction of the interior of the building, with the overhanging lights, benches, upper floors, and the presiding chair, from which a chimp commands the attention of the audience.

The painting was made around the time of the parliamentary expenses scandal in the UK, in which members of parliament were found to have engaged in wasteful spending of funds allotted to them by taxpayers. This scandal resulted in the resignation, sacking, and imprisonment of numerous members.

The chimps represent the ineptitude of the politicians and the loss of confidence in them by the public following the scandal. The session depicted portrays members of parliament engaging in a useless charade. The work highlights the egotism and corruption of the politicians, who are dedicated to satisfying their own ends rather than serving the needs of the public, and of the public’s alienation as a result.

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