Dismaland: Bemusement Park was a wonderfully clever exhibition put on by Guerrilla artist Banksy. He took over a derelict seafront site in Weston-Super-Mare and produced a pop-up exhibition that brought £20 million and 150,000 visitors to the seaside town. I was one of them. Banksy, exhibited along with 58 global artists including Damien Hirst, Caitlin Cherry and Epso. There was also representation from a host of new artists.
The theme was a take on Disneyland although a warped one. Others have said it was apocalyptic. I thought it was a brilliant exploration of social issues through art. One I wish more artists would explore. The five-week exhibition explored themes such as the European migrant boat crisis, the horsemeat scandal, the craving for pop celebrity and social issues of corruption, injustice, politics and capitalism. There was a Pocket Money Loans shop offering money to children at an interest rate of 5,000%.
I don’t agree with Banksy that it was “a family theme park unsuitable for children,” because, it raised many of the themes that society should be considering and children would be concerned about. After all, we are bequeathing the ecological disasters to them.
The art and themes held a mirror up to society. From being frisked and talked down to by officials upon entry, to mediocrity and life in a police state. It is only this week that we see police marksmen on rooftops in Manchester, with guns pointed at the anti-austerity protesters. There was so much there to make you laugh, such as trying to knock an anvil off the shelf with ping-pong balls, (one of my favourites). Some exhibits make you sad like the bunny rabbit wearing a gas mask. All of the exhibits would lead you to comment. The Cinderella fairytale crash still resounds with me. The exhibition, I hope will inspire everybody, especially the young, to political and social action. For we are witnessing some of the worst atrocities and civil liberty restrictions in our history.
The exhibition has ended like it began, raising awareness of social issues. All the props and fixtures are being shipped off to France to build temporary homes for the African refugees.