No navel-gazing here

News And Views

News & Views

  • 2 September 2015
  • Georgie Bentinck

Dismaland – it’s pretty dismal…

We all know Banksy likes to make a statement, but we must admit – he’s outdone himself this time. And no doubt created a lot more work for the PR team at Disneyland! If you haven’t heard about it already, Dismaland is a temporary art project organised by Banksy and his notable art friends – Damien Hirst included – that’s popped up in the seaside resort town of Weston-super-Mare. And all over the news for the past week or so.

Now we never like to believe the hype, so took a trip down to Somerset ourselves to see what all the fuss was about. And we weren’t disappointed.

Dismaland does exactly what it says on the tin – makes you feel dismal. Plunged into a dystopian (and occasionally amusing) nightmare, you’re made to feel part of Banksy’s world, which sometimes felt more like real life than we’d like to admit. You essentially become part of the exhibition – living art, if you will – a spectator at a horribly fascinating show, hands glued to your iPhone, only serving to fuel the fire that Banksy is inherently criticising by creating Dismaland in the first place – consumerism and capitalism.

There’s no doubt about it, you leave feeling affected by what you’ve seen across all the different artists’ exhibitions – from a dead Cinderella scene a la Lady Di, to a macabre Punch & Judy show, where Judy’s literally beaten to death. There’s also a bit of black comedy thrown in for good measure, like the Grim Reaper driving a dodgem to Saturday Night Fever’s “Stayin’ Alive”, and the staff ‘working’ on-site, who create fun interactions with visitors to heighten the experience – strictly no smiling allowed! Whichever way you look at it, Banksy’s making a point, and one we should all sit up and recognise – that the world as we know it is changing forever, and not necessarily for the better.

Our verdict? Get down to Dismaland, you’re in for one helluva ride. Just don’t expect a goodie bag.