Banksy is already the undisputed king of street artists, and even though no one knows his true identity, pretty much any street art or graffiti in the news mentions him, if only tangentially. His latest work, an ambitious project that blasted theme parks and Disney, dubbed "Dismaland," was a major attraction in Weston-Super-Mare, England, that sold out its tickets for five straight weeks and attracted some 4,500 visitors per day.
Now that the dark, surreal attraction is officially closed, its parts are being packed up and shipped off for an even more noble purpose: housing for refugees. A note on the Dismaland website currently reads: "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 Calais camp currently houses roughly 5,000 refugees, mostly from East Africa and the Middle East. Banksy built the dystopian theme park at a rundown outdoor pool to mock the entertainment industry in part, but despite notable Disney references, he said Disneyland wasn't his real target. He told The Sunday Times he was inspired by seasonal theme parks that come around Christmas "where they stick some antlers on an Alsatian dog" and that Dismaland is "ambitious, but it's also crap ... I think there's something very poetic and British about all that."
Interestingly, Dismaland's five-week run produced around 20 million pounds ($30 million) in tourism revenue for the surrounding area, which used to be a popular vacation spot but has declined in recent years. That irony probably wasn't lost on one of the great satirists of our time.
(H/T: SF Gate)
Cover image: Wikimedia