Welcome to Banksy's 'Dismaland': A derelict castle, a dead princess and killer seagulls

Screenshot of Dismaland's Instagram account
2 min

The secretive British graffiti artist Banksy unveiled on Friday his latest project - a parody of a seaside theme park called "Dismaland", complete with a derelict castle, a dead Cinderella and a Grim Reaper in a bumper car.


The artist, best known for his subversive street art, said it was a "festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchism".

The “Bemusement Park” in Weston-super-Mare, an English seaside town near Banksy’s home city of Bristol, is tagged as “The UK’s most disappointing new visitor attraction!” and features work by other artists, including Damien Hirst.

While Banksy said it was "not a swipe at Disney," it's difficult to ignore the reminders of Disneyland - from the gray castle and the skewed sculpture of Ariel the Mermaid in front of it to the exhibit of Cinderella in her carriage. Only this Cinderalla hangs out of her crashed carriage, apparently dead, as paparazzi look on.

The project is Banksy's biggest show to date.

Among the darkly amusing exhibits, there is: a sculpture of a woman attacked by a cloud of seagulls, a killer whale leaping out of a toilet bowl and a pond where visitors can steer model boats crammed with migrants.

Not quite the "happiest place on earth"

Banksy, who started daubing buildings in the early ‘90s, was not spotted at the press launch.

The parc's stewards -- wearing a combination of Mickey Mouse-style ears, high-visibility jackets and bored expressions -- were tight-lipped about the mysterious artist, whose real identity remains unknown.

"Welcome to Dismaland" and "Enjoy" was all they would utter, competing with each other in levels of insincerity.

While not quite the proclaimed "happiest place on earth" , "Dismaland" is generating a buzz in the resort among locals and Banksy fans worldwide.

"I’ve been curious all week," said Dana Winestone, 21, who works in a café on the seafront. "I’m just excited, it will be the best exhibition out there."

"Dismaland" is open to locals on Friday, and the general public from Saturday, until Sept. 27 at an entry price of three pounds (4.15 euros).

(FRANCE 24 with AP and REUTERS)

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