Banksy’s Dismaland

Whispers began months ago, when a Disney-like castle and gargantuan rainbow-colored pinwheel took up residency in an abandoned seaside swimming resort in Wester-super-Mare, UK, that Banksy was planning one of his most provocative installations yet. Early last week, they were confirmed.

An apocalyptic theme part dubbed Dismaland will be open to the public for five weeks. The park, dubbed “the UK’s most disappointing new visitor attraction” features three main interior galleries all with artwork created by dozens of other artists. While the rest of the property is signature Banksy – artistic themes of apocalypse, anti-consumerism, and pointed social critiques on celebrity culture, immigration, and law enforcement – the galleries include works from over 58 global artists.

Dismaland’s event brochure reads: “Are you looking for an alternative to the soulless sugar-coated banality of the average family day out? Or just somewhere cheaper? Then this is the place for you—a chaotic new world where you can escape from mindless escapism. Instead of a burger stall, we have a museum. In place of a gift shop we have a library, well, we have a gift shop as well.

“Bring the whole family to come and enjoy the latest addition to our chronic leisure surplus—a bemusement park. A theme park who’s big theme is: theme parks should have bigger themes… This event contains adult themes, distressing imagery, extended use of strobe lighting, smoke effects and swearing. The following items are strictly prohibited: knives, spray cans, illegal drugs, and lawyers from the Walt Disney corporation.”

It is, quite intentionally, Mickey and Minnie’s worst nightmare.

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