Banksy opens sin­is­ter theme park at sea­side

The China Post - - ARTS -

Graf­fiti artist Banksy an­nounced the open­ing of a dystopian theme park in a Bri­tish sea­side town on Thurs­day, fea­tur­ing boats filled with mi­grants and an anar­chist train­ing camp.

The “Dis­ma­land” theme park is lo­cated in a derelict out­door swimming pool cen­ter in We­ston-su­perMare, a coastal town near Bristol in the west of Eng­land.

Visi­tors will be greeted by a burned-out ver­sion of the fa­mous Dis­ney­land castle, and a dead Cin­derella hang­ing out of her crashed pump­kin car­riage sur­rounded by pa­parazzi.

It fea­tures a riot van built to pa­trol the streets of North­ern Ire­land, al­tered to boast a brightly col­ored slide along­side its wa­ter cannon.

In one fair­ground game, visi­tors can steer minia­ture boats full of asy­lum seek­ers around a pond.

“I guess you’d say it’s a theme park whose big theme is theme parks should have big­ger themes,” Banksy said in a state­ment, de­scrib­ing the show as “a fes­ti­val of art, amuse­ments and en­try-level an­ar­chism.”

Spray paint, marker pens, knives and “le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Walt Dis­ney Cor­po­ra­tion” are banned from the site.

The park also fea­tures works from artists from Is­rael, Palestine and Syria hand-picked by the elu­sive Banksy, who keeps his face and iden­tity a se­cret and made his name with sub­ver­sive graf­fiti, in­clud­ing some left in the ru­ins of homes in Gaza ear­lier this year.

Fel­low artists in the ex­hi­bi­tion in­clude Bri­tain’s Damien Hirst; Jenny Holzer, the first woman to rep­re­sent the United States at the Venice Bi­en­nale; and pen­sioner Ed Hall, who has made trade union ban­ners in his shed for four decades.

The lo­cal town coun­cil is hope­ful that the theme park will draw visi­tors back to We­ston-su­per-Mare, which like many Bri­tish sea­side re­sort towns has suf­fered with the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of over­seas travel.

“It’s a fan­tas­tic show,” said North Som­er­set Coun­cil leader Nigel Ash­ton. “It’s very, very thought pro­vok­ing. Some of the mes­sages are hard to ac­cept but true nev­er­the­less.

“We’re ex­tremely lucky that it’s come here,” he added. “We hope that peo­ple will visit the show and then come to see the town.”

The de­vel­op­ment of the show was kept a strict se­cret be­fore its of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment, with lo­cal peo­ple told a cover story that the aban­doned swimming area was be­ing used in a film.

The ex­hi­bi­tion opens this Satur­day, Aug. 22 un­til Sept. 27, and will fea­ture per­for­mances from mu­si­cians in­clud­ing Rus­sian fem­i­nist punk rock­ers Pussy Riot and Eng­land’s Mas­sive At­tack.

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