Banksy Opens Dystopian Dismaland Art Theme Park in Southwest England
Following weeks of speculation, world-renowned graffiti artist Banksy has launched his latest project in the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare on England's Bristol Channel coast, a contemporary art funfair dubbed the "Dismaland Bemusement Park."
"Are you looking for an alternative to the sugar-coated tedium of the average family day out? Or just somewhere a lot cheaper? Then this is the place for you. Bring the whole family to come and enjoy the latest addition to our chronic leisure surplus…," states the Dismaland website.
A warning on the site states that the festival "contains uneven floor surfaces, extensive use of strobe lighting, imagery unsuitable for small children, and swearing," and also prohibits "spray paint, marker pens, knives, and legal representatives of the Walt Disney Corporation" in the park.
Occupying the Tropicana, a former lido on the seafront at Weston-super-Mare, the event is described as "a festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchism." It features works by 58 artists from around the world including a never-before-seen collection of Banksy satirical art and sculpture as well as works by the likes of Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, and Jimmy Cauty.
In a statement, Banksy said: "I loved the Tropicana as a kid, so getting to throw these doors open again is a real honour. I hope everyone from Weston will take the opportunity to once more stand in a puddle of murky water eating cold chips to the sound of crying children."
"I banned any imagery of Mickey Mouse from the site. It's a showcase for the best line-up of artists I could imagine, apart from the two who turned me down," he added.
According to the Dismaland website, visitors can experience a hand crafted miniature world by Jimmy Cauty, a stallion constructed from used scaffolding by Ben Long, a self-operated puppet revue show constructed from the context of Hackney skips by Paul Insect and Bast, two juggernauts performing ballet by Mike Ross, and an armour plated riot control vehicle repurposed as a children's slide.
Other attractions include a Cinderella's castle, a giant pin wheel commissioned by Banksy to power the entire site, a circus tent, an oil-caliphate-themed crazy golf course, a picnic area, a truck-mounted outdoor cinema, a gallery of amusements, and a Guerilla Island featuring a bus-mounted museum, library, and gallery of guerilla art.
One of the highlights of the event is three large galleries comprising what is described as "the finest collection of contemporary art ever assembled in a North Somerset seaside town."
Cllr Nigel Ashton, Leader of the North Somerset Council, said that it was a great relief to finally be able to talk about the show.
"We have been working closely with the organisers for months now, and for obvious reasons, have had to remain tight-lipped about the true nature of the event. In fact, only four people in the entire council knew what was really happening," said Cllr Ashton.
"I had a preview of the exhibition while it was still being assembled last week, and I have to say, it is absolutely brilliant. As well as entertaining, it's also incredibly thought provoking," he added.
Dismaland is open every day from August 22 to September 27, 11am – 11pm. Admission is £3 with free entry for the under 5's. Capacity is limited, so visit the ticket page at www.dismaland.co.uk and book a time slot for guaranteed entry.
Andreas Hykade (Bavaria), Amir Schiby (Israel), Axel Void (USA), Banksy-14779">Banksy (UK), Barry Reigate (UK), Ben Long (UK), Bill Barminski (USA), Block9 (UK), Brock Davis (USA), Caitlin Cherry (USA), Caroline McCarthy (UK), Damien Hirst (UK), Darren Cullen (UK), David Shrigley (UK), Dorcas Casey (UK), Dietrich Wegner (USA), Ed Hall (UK), El Teneen (Egypt), Escif (Spain), Espo (USA), Fares Cachoux (Syria), Greg Haberny (USA), Huda Beydoun (Saudi Arabia), James Joyce (UK), Jani Leinonen (Finland), Jeff Gillette (USA), Jenny Holzer (USA), Jessica Harrison (UK), Jimmy Cauty (UK), Joanna Pollonais (Canada), Josh Keyes (USA), Julie Burchill (UK), Kate MacDowell (USA), Laura Lancaster (UK), Lee Madgwick (UK), Leigh Mulley (UK), Lush (Australia), Mana Neyestani (Iran), Maskull Laserre (Canada), Michael Beitz (USA), Mike Ross (USA), Neta Harari Navon (Israel), Nettie Wakefield (UK), Paco Pomet (Spain), Paul Insect & BAST (UK/USA), Peter Kennard & Cat Phillips(UK), Polly Morgan (UK), Pure Evil (UK), Ronit Baranga (Israel),Sami Musa (Palestine), Scott Hove (USA), Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė (Lithuania), Shadi Alzaqzouq (Palestine), Suliman Mansour (Palestine), Tammam Azzam (Syria), The Astronauts' Caravan (UK), Tinsel Edwards (UK), Wasted Rita (Portugal), Zaria Forman (USA)