Welcome to Dismaland – Banksy’s Take on the Western Theme Park Craze

30 Sep 2015 Dismaland featured

For over 20 years the shadowy and mysterious street artist Banksy has been creating his brand of ‘guerrilla’ art all over the world and even more recently via live media on the form of the film ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ and a handful of satirical political commentaries on Youtube. In 2015 he took his unique visual and political points of view to a new level though, creating a theme park, or as he put it ‘bemusement park’ in the English seaside town of Weston-super-Mare and for one glorious month at the end of the summer guests were invited to visit ‘Dismaland’ to enjoy a truly surreal theme park experience for just £3(about $4.50)

The “festival of art, amusements, and entry-level anarchism” is now unfortunately over and much of the material on the site is being sent to Calais, France to house refugees; “Coming soon … Dismaland Calais,” a statement on the park’s website announced “All the timber and fixtures from Dismaland are being sent to the ‘Jungle’ refugee camp near Calais to build shelters. No online tickets will be available.”

For those who are disappointed to have missed out on the chance to experience the gloom of Dismaland for themselves we can still offer up some consolation in the form of a brief ‘guided’ tour of Banksy’s most adventurous project to date.

 

 

The entrance to Dismaland. You may notice that the signage typography looks rather familiar.
The entrance to Dismaland. You may notice that the signage typography looks rather familiar.
Visitors were subject to a 'pat-down' in the TSA style Welcome Center, but most didn't mind too much.
Visitors were subject to a ‘pat-down’ in the TSA style Welcome Center, but most didn’t mind too much.
Dismaland was created on the site of an old, abandoned lido pool left over from Weston-super-Mare's heyday as a seaside attraction.
Dismaland was created on the site of an old, abandoned lido pool left over from Weston-super-Mare’s heyday as a seaside attraction.
The park was staffed by the obligatory attendants. Waering mouse ears they may have been but they were anything but jolly and cheerful, extolling visitors to 'end-joy' as they entered the park.
The park was staffed by the obligatory attendants. Wearing mouse ears they may have been but they were anything but jolly and cheerful, extolling visitors to ‘end-joy’ as they entered the park.
Like any other fair or theme park Dismaland boasted a midway, but it was a thoroughfare of misery rather than a pathway of fun.
Like any other fair or theme park Dismaland boasted a midway, but it was a thoroughfare of misery rather than a pathway of fun.
Banksy's recognizable street art was scattered throughout the park.
Banksy’s recognizable street art was scattered throughout the park.
The colourful carousel was eyecatching, but not exactly cheery or child friendly.
The colourful carousel was eye-catching, but not exactly cheery or child friendly.
Speaking of child friendly, the gruesome scene outside the dilapidated castle was certainly rated R.
Speaking of child friendly, the gruesome scene outside the dilapidated castle was certainly rated R.
Political statements abounded, like this 'payday' loan centre located in a children's playground.
Political statements abounded, like this ‘payday’ loan centre located in a children’s playground.
The view from the rickety ferris wheel was rather impressive though.
The view from the rickety ferris wheel was rather impressive though.
Cinderella's castle had definitely seen better days..
Cinderella’s castle had definitely seen better days..
What a deal! On the other hand, maybe not...
What a deal! On the other hand, maybe not…
Formal galleries billed as, "The finest collection of contemporary art ever assembled in a North Somerset seaside town," contained work from a number of prominent artists.
Formal galleries billed as, “The finest collection of contemporary art ever assembled in a North Somerset seaside town,” contained work from a number of prominent artists.

 

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