This week the Royal Academy of Art’s yearly summer exhibition opens in London. Led by iconic British artist Grayson Perry, this year’s selection panel had over 20,000 artworks to choose from, with only 827 making it into the prestigious show. That means literally thousands of artists had their paintings and sculptures refused, but we’re sure they’ll feel better when they find out that Banksy also got turned down.
The legendary street artist shared on Instagram that he’d secretly submitted a canvas under the name “Bryan S. Gaakman,” an anagram for “Banksy anagram.” Sneaky! However, it was rejected by the committee.
Clearly not realising he’d jilted one of Britain’s most prominent artists, a few weeks later Grayson contacted Banksy asking if he would consider submitting a piece to the summer exhibition. In response, Banksy sent in a revised version of the original canvas, which is now on display in Gallery 3.
. I entered an early version of this into the RA summer exhibition under the pseudonym Bryan S Gaakman – an anagram of ‘banksy anagram’. It was refused. Then a month later I got a mail from the co-ordinator Grayson Perry asking me to submit something so I sent it again. It’s now hanging in gallery 3.
The painting, which is titled “Vote to Love,” is a response to the Brexit campaign, in which the UK voted to leave the EU via referendum in 2016. Although the “Vote to Leave” side won by 52% to 48%, the result is believed to be largely racially motivated.
In a statement, the Royal Academy said of the Bansky piece: “The work currently in the summer exhibition is different from the original version submitted.”
It’s also said to be on sale for an impressive £350 million, the same amount the Vote Leave campaign promised would go to the National Health Service every week if Britain left the EU. Although, the exhibition catalogue does ask potential buyers to “refer to the sales desk” to find out the actual cost, so there’s probably some wiggle room.