Banksy Dismaland Migrants: Art As Shelter

Published: September 29, 2015

Banksy Dismaland Migrants: Art As Shelter, Britain’s most disappointing tourist attraction is to be dismantled and sent to Calais to be shelter for migrants, creator Banksy has revealed.

Work to take down Dismaland begins on Monday and the elusive street artist said all the timber and fixtures from the ‘bemusement park’ would be sent to the Jungle camp. An estimated 5,000 people displaced from countries including Syria, Libya and Eritrea are believed to be camped in and around the French port.

On the Dismaland website, Banksy posted a picture of the migrant camp in Calais and had superimposed onto it his fire-ravaged fairytale Cinderella Castle. In a message accompanying the picture, he wrote: “Coming soon … Dismaland Calais.

“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.”

The theme park opened at a derelict seaside lido at Weston-super-Mare in Somerset and even though Banksy said it was ‘crap’, thousands of people visited.

The controversial attraction featured migrant boats, Jimmy Savile and an anarchist training camp, and there were long queues as visitors waited to get inside when it first opened on 22 August.

The exhibition sold out every day of its five-week run, attracting about 4,000 people a day – a total of 150,000 visitors.

North Somerset council, which has described the site as the centre of the contemporary art universe, said it would bring £7m to the local economy, while local business leaders have estimated that the economic benefit to the seaside town could top £20m.

Banksy described the park as a festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchism, adding: “This is an art show for the 99% who’d rather be at Alton Towers.”

The Bristol-based artist later told the Sunday Times: “This is not a street art show. It’s modelled on those failed Christmas parks that pop up every December – where they stick some antlers on an Alsatian dog and spray fake snow on a skip.

“It’s ambitious, but it’s also crap. I think there’s something very poetic and British about all that.”

Banksy was inspired to create the park after peeking through a gap in the fence at the Tropicana site in January. He handpicked the artists featured in the show, who come from across the world including Israel, Palestine, Syria, the US and the UK.

The process to decommission Dismaland is expected to take three weeks. North Somerset council is already discussing the potential to host other events and exhibitions at the Tropicana site in the future.

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