Laugh Now, one of Banksy’s early works, was first commissioned by the Ocean Rooms nightclub on Morley Street in Brighton. It was originally a six-metre long spray painted mural, with the figure of the monkey repeated ten times in a row to form a backdrop to the Brighton bar.
In 2003 the piece was also reproduced as a limited edition print for sale with only 150 signed and 600 Laugh Now unsigned prints in the series. In 2008, Ocean Rooms sold the painting at Bonham’s for what was then a record auction price of nearly half a million dollars. Today, Laugh Now is one of Banksy’s most internationally recognised works.
Along with the rat, the monkey is one of Banksy’s most frequently used animal characters. Satirising the nature of humankind, Banksy uses these animals as didactic figures in his critical social commentary. The catchphrase on the board is also typical of those often used by the artist to convey powerful or poignant messages to his audience.
IN 2003 Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate activist was born. Belgium legally recognized same-sex marriage, becoming the second country in the world to do so. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was renamed Serbia and Montenegro; Malta approved joining the European Union in a referendum, Lithuania approves joining the European Union in a referendum, followed by Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Estonia..
The World Health Organization issues a global alert on severe acute respiratory syndrome SARS, though declared it ‘contained’ just a few months later.
Concorde makes its last commercial flight, bringing the era of airliner supersonic travel to an end.
Saddam Hussein, the former president of Iraq, was captured.
THE ARTWORLD IN 2003: Beagle 2 lands on the surface of Mars; its calibration target plate is painted by Damien Hirst.
Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design takes over the Byam Shaw School of Art.
Grayson Perry wins the Turner Prize.
ARTWORKS CREATED IN 2003:
Jake and Dinos Chapman ‚Äì Insult to Injury
Tony Cragg ‚Äì Stainless Steel Pillar
Cornelia Parker ‚Äì The Distance (A Kiss With String Attached): Subconscious of a Monument (interventionist sculpture)
Lynn Chadwick and Terry Frost died in 2003