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Banksy’s ‘Dismaland Bemusement Park’ Officially Opens; Features 47 International Artists

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The Dismaland show – which will also feature work from Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer and Jimmy Cauty – will take over the Tropicana site for six weeks.

“I loved the Tropicana as a kid, so getting to throw these doors open again is a real honour,” Banksy said.

The show is his first in the UK since 2009’s Banksy v Bristol Museum show which drew huge crowds.

Banksy described the show as a “family theme park unsuitable for children”.

Overturned fairy carriage being photographedBlank_White_Small

He said he had been motivated to work on the site which had been “popular with low income holiday makers” after peering through a gap in the fence in January.Blank_White_Small

Big Rig Jig, an artwork by Mike RossBlank_White_Small

Many of the works require “audience participation”.

“A dead princess is only complete when surrounded by gawping crowds with their cameras out or the opportunity to photograph yourself pulling an amazed expression when a killer whale leaps from a toilet,” he said.

“I guess you’d say it’s a theme park whose big theme is – theme parks should have bigger themes”.Blank_White_Small

Banksy Dismaland exhibitionBlank_White_Small

Dismaland is the official name but it’s really Banksyland. Subversive, darkly comic and cocking a snook at authority there are good reasons why the mysterious Mr Banksy is so popular.

His stencils are well known but this is something very different – a pitch black antidote to the ‘fun day out’. The Julie Burchill ‘Punch and Judy, the riot torn village, the ‘magic castle’ with a papparazi and Disney centrepiece and of course an exit through the gift shop. Fun for all the family? No. Something Britain’s seaside has never seen before? Yes.

Weston is bracing itself for crowds.Blank_White_Small

Banksy Dismaland exhibition
Banksy Dismaland exhibitionBlank_White_Small

Speculation had been growing that the elusive Bristolian was planning an exhibition after a castle and sculpture made from tanker trucks were spotted above the walls.

Locals had been told a Hollywood company was filming there.

Nigel Ashton, leader of North Somerset Council, said: “We have been working closely with the organisers for months now, and for obvious reasons, have had to remain tight-lipped about the true nature of the event.

“In fact, only four people in the entire council knew what was really happening.”Blank_White_Small

The Grim Reaper riding a dodgem
The Lido site at Weston-Super-MareBlank_White_Small

The transformation inside the Tropicana is quite stunning. It’s still the run-down lido it has been for the past 15 years, but now there’s art everywhere.

From the moment you walk through the fake airport-style security you get the dismal tone of Dismaland. Grumpy guards play the part astonishingly well.

Inside you see Banksy’s Cinderella castle and his Grim Reaper dodgem, which dances to the song Staying Alive.

But you also get a heavy dose of other local and international artists. Damien Hirst makes contributions alongside others.

And the organisers are keen to point to the show’s art credentials rather than it being just street art alone.Blank_White_Small

Dismaland mapBlank_White_Small

The Tropicana outdoor pool and leisure facility closed in 2000 due to falling visitor numbers.

Since then, there has been various attempts to either reopen or demolish the structure.

The Trop Trust is trying to reopen the structure and bring it back into use.

Trust member Derek Mead said: “It has definitely put the Trop back in the forefront and I believe Mr Banksy, he was a swimmer in there in his younger days so I think there could be an extra agenda here.”

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“Banksy’s ‘Dismaland Bemusement Park’ Officially Opens; Features 47 International Artists”