Banksy funds refugee boat in support of ‘badass’ activist

Bristol artist Banksy has reportedly financed a rescue boat that’s been launched to secure passage for refugees from North Africa to Europe.

Painted bright pink and featuring Banksy artwork of a girl in a life vest holding a heart shaped buoy, the Louise Michel secretly set sail from Spain on August 18 on its rescue mission.

The anonymous artist put forward the money after reaching out to activist Pia Klemp, the former captain of several NGO boats that have rescued thousands of migrants, last year, according to the Guardian.

In an email, he wrote: “Hello Pia, I’ve read about your story in the papers. You sound like a badass.

“I am an artist from the UK and I’ve made some work about the migrant crisis, obviously I can’t keep the money.

“Could you use it to buy a new boat or something? Please let me know. Well done. Banksy.”

Girl With Balloon is Banksy’s most famous pieces
(Image: PA)

Pia Klemp told the Guardian the artist’s support was purely financial. “Banksy won’t pretend that he knows better than us how to run a ship, and we won’t pretend to be artists,” she said.

This week, the vessel was used to rescue 89 people in distress in the Mediterranean, including women and children.

Banksy recently sold a trio of paintings, titled ‘Mediterranean Sea View 2017’ and depicting the European migrant crisis, for £2.2million at auction.

The work had a political message concerning the recent migrant crisis, showing the sun shining over a seascape with life buoys and orange life jackets being washed on to the shore.

The sale was used to fund a new acute stroke unit and children’s rehabilitation equipment for Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation.

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