Banksy Uses Art Sales to Fund High Speed Lifeboat and Rescue Refugees Stranded at Sea
In an Instagram post (his only official online presence), British artist Banksy revealed that he had used proceeds from his recent art sales to finance the M.V. Louise Michel, a high speed lifeboat that patrols the Mediterranean.
The Louise Michel is a former French Navy boat that was acquired by Banksy and customized to perform search and rescue. Measuring 30 meters (98 ft) in length and capable of over 28 knots, she is captained by Pia Klemp and crewed by a team of rescue professionals drawn from across Europe. In a note to Pia last September, Banksy 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.”
The vessel is named after French feminist anarchist, Louise Michel. So far in 2020, more than 500 refugees and migrants are known to have died in the Mediterranean sea, and the real number is estimated to be considerably higher. More than 19,500 migrants have survived the Mediterranean crossing along the central maritime route this year and reached Italy or Malta.
To receive the latest updates from the lifeboat, you can follow on twitter @MVLouiseMichel. You can also check out the website for more information on the cause and how you can help fund their efforts.