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Louise Michel ship in the Mediterranean, sponsored by Banksy
Photograph: Louise Michel

Banksy has funded (and painted) a ship to save refugees at sea

The street artist paid for the Louse Michel vessel, which is now saving lives in the Mediterranean

By
James Manning
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Multimillionaire street art scamp Banksy has had a busy lockdown. Not satisfied with redecorating his bathroom and redecorating a London tube carriage, now it turns out he’s financed a rescue ship that’s currently saving lives in the Mediterranean.

The Louise Michel, named after a nineteenth-century French anarchist, was launched from Spain on August 18 and as of August 27 had already rescued 89 refugees from drowning, according to The Guardian. The number of people making the dangerous Mediterranean crossing from North Africa to Europe has risen in recent months, with increased border restrictions making things even more perilous.

Banksy was credited with having sponsored and painted the ship by Sea-Watch, a German NGO that saves lives in the Mediterranean. The vessel is decorated with an update of the artist’s famous ‘Girl With Balloon’, this time featuring a heart-shaped pink lifebelt.

Looks like art’s biggest prankster isn’t all about taking the piss, huh?

Update, September 1: The Louise Michel has now transferred 49 of its rescued passengers to the Italian coastguard and the remainder to the Sea Watch 4 rescue ship, which is awaiting permission to enter a safe port in Italy or Malta. Follow the Louise Michel Twitter account for the latest.

More art news:

A miniature record store for mice has popped up in Sweden
Berlin’s Berghain is reopening as an art gallery
Europe is getting a teamLab arts space, and it’s going to be mindblowing

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