August 21, 2015
Forget Disneyland. Welcome to Dismaland, the unhappiest place on Earth. The mysterious, pseudonymous English graffiti artist Banksy just opened his version of Disneyland in a seaside English town called Weston-super-Mare; his first show in the UK since his Banksy v Bristol Museum Show back in 2009. As much as the place resembles Disneyland, Banksy said on record that it’s not a jab at Disney, and that he had “banned any imagery of Mickey Mouse” at the Tropicana site.
The park, as described by him, is a “family theme park unsuitable for children.” It’s more of an art exhibition and entry-level anarchism that features works from 50 artists from all around the world, such as Damien Hirst, Mike Ross, David Shrigley, Bill Barminski and more. Banksy himself will be showcasing 10 artworks of his own.
They’re obviously Disneyland-inspired, exploring general themes like the apocalypse, anti-consumerism, disparities of wealth and anti-corporate messages. The site itself is a run-down lido for the past 15 years; the leftovers of a bustling outdoor pool and leisure facility that saw falling visitor numbers, leading to its closure. Various efforts to reopen or demolish the structure has been for naught. Banksy definitely the perfect site for an exhibition of this scale. Besides, he’s mentioned how he loved the Tropicana when he was young.
So what will you get to see there? A dead princess with part of her body spilling out of the carriage, complete with a crowd trying to get a photo; pretty much a reflection of how our digitally-connected society would rather take a photo first before anything (i.e. eating food, a traffic accident, a concert; basically not enjoying an experience as it should be). A run-down, fairytale castle that looks like a run-down, eerie version of Cinderella’s castle. A twisted truck sculpture. Bumper cars with the grim reaper in it. A killer whale jumping out of a toilet bowl and through a hoop. Yeah, that kind of stuff.
Banksy has also scheduled some amazing live events every Friday and Saturday night throughout the duration of the exhibition, with acts like Run the Jewels, Pussy Riot, Massive Attack and more.
Dismaland opens from tomorrow (22 August) right through to 27 Sept, from 11am-11pm.