By Chere Di Boscio
British artist Banksy is never one to shy away from harsh messages. From pointing out the barbarism of Israel’s wall around Palestine to increasing police brutality, the themes of his work touch on subjects few other artists will go near.
Now, he’s created an entire dystopia full of pertinent issues that pervade our society. Welcome to Dismaland.
Billed as a “bemusement park” and modeled after Disneyland, it’s a warped vision of the so-called “happiest place on Earth“. Officially opening to the public today, it’s Banksy’s largest exhibition to date and the 4000 allotted daily tickets, priced at less than $5, are expected to sell out fast.
There are rides, of course. and three galleries featuring pieces from the likes of Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, and Banksy himself, along with similarly minded artists–many of the over 50 artists from 17 countries exhibiting share a common animosity toward the political and cultural establishment.
Hummingbirds trying to penetrate through brick walls, a merry-go-round with dissected horses, refugees afloat on a brown river and perhaps most controversially, a princess being photographed frantically by paparazzi as she lies dead in her pumpkin coach are just some of the eyebrow-lifting exhibits you’ll see housed in and around the Disney-meets-Addams-family castle.
As would be expected, the mysterious artist– whose appearance is unknown and who doesn’t do interviews– isn’t here to explain his mission directly, but we think it’s pretty clear: Dismaland addresses the many grim ‘elephants in the room’ (another previous Banksy installation, by the way) that we refuse to acknowledge–a growing police state, spreading war, environmental destruction and grim prospects for the next generation. It’s not a happy message, but it’s one we need to hear.