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Friday, 25 September 2015


So yesterday I finally made it to Dismaland having managed to secure one of the tickets released each week which have sold out in a few minutes each time. Dismaland is the installation curated by Banksy including works by him and many other artists. It finishes this Sunday (27th September) after a run of a month in Weston-Super-Mare, an English coastal town. Dismaland was developed in the site of a seaside pool which was a popular destination that Banksy remembered from his childhood and that now stands as a derelict site.

Obviously, given the title, Dismaland makes reference to Disney and the Disneyland experience however Banksy's intention seems to be to give an experience akin to the visit to a fairground but with exhibits and attractions which are intended to provoke the audience to think about issues such as pollution, voyeurism, the refugee crisis and capitalism. Although some have seen the exhibition as a direct attack on Disney, Banksy makes it clear below in this extract from an interview with a Sunday newspaper that this isn't his intention at all:

"This preoccupation with Disney, have you been subjected to too many re-runs of Cinderella recently? What effect do you think Disney has on young minds?"

"I don’t have an issue with Disney. I'm not a hipster, so I don’t think something is evil or vacuous simply because its popular. The Dismal Land branding isn't about Disney at all – its just a framework that says – OK, we accept that making art puts us in the light entertainment industry, and we’ll attempt to engage at that level – but for the left. Some Disney is very good, the Let it Go sequence in Frozen is brilliant – the ‘journey’ between the beginning and end of that three minute song is pure cinematic gold."

The exhibition provided many opportunities for taking photos, a few of which are below to give a taster. The exhibition wasn't all 'dismal', I enjoyed the banter with the grumpy staff and found beauty in the detail of pieces with direct Disney references including those such as Ariel, the castle, paintings and Mickey swallowed by a snake! One of the most powerful pieces was inside the castle where the wedding scene from Cinderella played on a small TV and then we followed the passage round to enter the pitch black room with Cinderella's coach crashed in the middle, the scene is only lit by the flashes of the cameras of the model journalists and us, reflecting the events at the end of the life of Princess Diana.  I am certainly still reflecting on what I saw yesterday and the power of the images and messages.

Happy Friday everyone!

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