Notorious graffiti artist Banksy has donated an original artwork to the New North London Synagogue, Finchley, which hopes to auction it for £100,000 in support of its drop-in centre for asylum seekers.
Simon Hattenstone — a volunteer at the centre and the only journalist to have interviewed the elusive Banksy — persuaded the artist to offer his work. It is a version of his painting of children saluting a Tesco bag, adapted to the shul’s eBay sale of underwear donated by stars including Emma Thompson, Nick Hornby and Daniel Day-Lewis.
Although the Banksy piece is on eBay for a minimum £30,000, experts say it should fetch considerably more. It may eventually be sold to a private collector.
Drop-in centre co-ordinator Deborah Koder said: “Destitute asylum seekers live here in fear, terrified of being forcibly returned home. They are not allowed to work and don’t even have the money to buy underwear, which is basic to human dignity.
“Our celebrities will both raise funds for them and draw attention to their plight.”