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Laugh Now


Featuring one of Banksy’s famous monkey figures, this original print is simple but delivers a hard-hitting message – with even a very single-layered monotone colour palette communicating the down and depressive vibe of the central character in the piece. 

The work, which shows a monkey wearing a sandwich board display, reads “Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge”. This hard-hitting message is laced with a warning – with various interpretative readings into who is being addressed by the message. To start unpicking and unlocking the message behind this print, it’s important to consider who the monkey character represents. 


Medium: Screen Print
Format: Unsigned Print
Year: 2006
Size: H 80cm x W 122cm
Framing details: Framed with glass
Edition size: 500
Signed: No
Condition: Excellent
Provenance: Pest Control COA


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The Story Behind Banksy’s ‘Laugh Now’

When Banksy uses a monkey in one of his prints, he is generally representing or communicating a feeling that is held by humankind as a whole – or at least a certain collection of people in society. In a similar way to how he uses his rat figure, Banksy creates art which puts these creatures into various situations – using them to represent the state and feeling of groups in society – in this case, those who are being mocked and laughed at by the higher powers of authority. 

Another reading of this original print is far more straightforward and indicative of the character who is shown – in that the monkey could represent animals who are tested as part of laboratory work. In this reading, in particular, it is impossible to ignore the choice of a monkey both by Banksy and in Darwin’s evolution, with the line “one day we’ll be in charge” linking the image back to the theory of evolution and monkeys transitioning into humankind. 

What ties each of these perceptions together is the idea that whomever the monkey represents is plotting an uprising of sorts – challenging the authority of those who are laughing at them, with the central message delivering a form of warning.

The History of this Piece

Banksy’s Laugh Now was launched in 2003 as an original unsigned print, though the piece was first commissioned in 2002 by a nightclub in Brighton. The print version which is available today shows a single monkey wearing the sandwich board, however, the original mural lined up 10 identical monkeys – four of whom showed blank messages while the remaining six had the same words etched across the blank whiteboard. 

There is a range of versions and interpretations of this piece of art now available, however, this original print is one of a collection of 600 unsigned copies. Popular with Banksy buyers, it is the combination of Banksy’s infamous stencilling and the central monkey figure which gives the art a place in the Banksy book of recognisable pieces. 

Sell your Banksy ‘Laugh Now’

Selling any Banksy original print requires a valuation to ensure that you get the right price. If you’re looking to sell your Banksy Laugh now piece, then we recommend bringing it to a professional Banksy valuer who can recognise the signs of an original and share an accurate quote and value based on the condition of the piece.

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