A day out at Dismaland: Banksy's 'bemusement park'

Dismaland was a temporary art project organised by street artist Banksy, constructed in the seaside resort town of Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, England and thankfully I was quick enough to book a couple of tickets online through the official Dismaland site for a mere £5 each! Tickets were selling on eBay for over £100 each due to the park only being open for just over a month. 

Weston-Super-Mare is about a 4-hour drive from my place, so it was an early start to get there for around 10am. I'd never been to that part of the UK before ... and to be honest, I probably wouldn't go back again. It feels like a dying UK beach resort. Not much there apart from a few fish and chip shops and a super quiet shopping centre!


Prepared in secret, the pop-up exhibition at the Tropicana, a disused lido, was "a sinister twist on Disneyland" that opened during the weekend of 21 August 2015 and closed permanently on 27 September 2015, 36 days later. Banksy described it as a "family theme park unsuitable for children." 


Banksy created ten new works and funded the construction of the exhibition himself.

The show featured 58 artists of the 60 Banksy originally invited to participate. 4,000 tickets were available for purchase per day.

Among the structures there's a large pinwheel by Banksy, Horse Scaffolding Sculpture by Ben Long, and a twisted truck sculpture, Big Rig Jig by artist Mike Ross. 



Works by 58 artists, including Jenny Holzer, Damien Hirst , Jimmy Cauty and Bill Barminski were featured in the park. Banksy said he contacted the "best artists I could imagine," to exhibit, with two artists turning him down. 


Art Historian Dr Gavin Grindon from the University of Essex curated Dismaland's political exhibits, including a bus housing collection of dangerous and violent objects (from homeless spikes to riot shields and rubber bullets) under the banner of 'Cruel Designs'.


We spent around 5 hours within the park, and although in the photographs it looked like a beautiful day, it was actually freezing (which made the ferris wheel ride a little uncomfortable), but the park itself was very well produced. A great layout, some amazing staff / actors and some really compelling pieces that were thought provoking.

It's such a shame that this park is just a temporary structure and within just over 5 weeks will be closed for good.


If you can get tickets I'd highly recommend going. They're rather pricey if you can't get them through the official website, but if you can afford getting them via ebay or other toutes ... GO! 


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