Banksy artwork depicting Jesus on 'military grade' grappling hook worth £83,000 given to Ely Cathedral by anonymous dealer for display

PUBLISHED: 15:35 16 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:58 16 July 2019

The Grappling Hook (2017): A unique piece of art by the infamous Banksy which is now on display inside Ely Cathedral. Picture: Supplied / Ely Cathedral

The Grappling Hook (2017): A unique piece of art by the infamous Banksy which is now on display inside Ely Cathedral. Picture: Supplied / Ely Cathedral

Supplied / Ely Cathedral

A controversial piece of art by the infamous Banksy which sold at auction for more than £83,000 is now on display at Ely Cathedral.

The Grappling Hook (2017): A unique piece of art by the infamous Banksy which is now on display inside Ely Cathedral. Picture: Supplied / Ely CathedralThe Grappling Hook (2017): A unique piece of art by the infamous Banksy which is now on display inside Ely Cathedral. Picture: Supplied / Ely Cathedral

The large piece, which depicts Jesus Christ on a metal grappling hook, can be seen inside a glass container thanks to an anonymous art collector.

Aptly named The Grappling Hook (2017), the unique piece - signed by the mystery street artist Banksy - can be viewed from now until the end of September.

Arguably one of Banksy's most iconic pieces, it is said to highlight the struggles surrounding the West Bank and the division of the two most holy cities in Christianity.

Banksy himself describes The Grappling Hook - which was bought at a London auction for £83,306 - as a "military grade grappling hook and combined spiritual ornament".

The Grappling Hook (2017): A unique piece of art by the infamous Banksy which is now on display inside Ely Cathedral. Picture: Supplied / Ely Cathedral The Grappling Hook (2017): A unique piece of art by the infamous Banksy which is now on display inside Ely Cathedral. Picture: Supplied / Ely Cathedral

Being displayed in Ely Cathedral may raise a few eyebrows in the city, however Dean of Ely Mark Bonney has said that the cathedral is a "wonderful backdrop" for the piece.

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He said: "Obviously there are strong statements associated with many of Bansky's works, and we hope many will come to see this piece and draw their own interpretation and meaning from it.

"We are not displaying it to create any political statement, although it is borne out of very troubled political situation - but we cannot either escape the fact that Jesus' crucifixion had a very strong political element to it too.

"I think this work will create a particular presence and challenge in a building devoted to the Christian faith. The cathedral provides a wonderful backdrop for art and sculpture."

The Grappling Hook was dropped off by the specialist collector who bought the piece for £83,000; he told the cathedral he wishes to remain anonymous.

When it was sold to the collector in March this year, it marked the first time Banksy had put his work up for sale since 2013 when he set up a pop up shop in New York,

Visitors can now view the artwork which is attached to a large four metre long knotted rope in a glass container on top of its original hand-made custom box.

The piece, described by Bonhams auctions as "arresting, humorous and polemic", is on a temporary loan to the cathedral from the owner for the summer months.

For more information about the piece and how you can see it for yourself, visit: www.elycathedral.org

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