Bristol street artist Banksy’s ‘crap’ dystopian theme park Dismaland was recently dismantled and shipped to a migrant camp near Calais to make shelters. The famed parked had featured a ruined fairytale castle, a crashed Cinderella coach and miserable stewards wearing Mickey Mouse ears, the unique theme park was designed to satirise commercialised tourist attractions. The conceptual work also gave Weston-super-Mare’s economy a boost of over £20m, as the pop-up “bemusement park”saw over 150,000 visitors in a five week period.
But along with the admirable re-purposing of the theme park came a rather over-stated and perhaps tasteless sign: “Dismal Aid” doing nothing to improve the plight of refugees. In fact onlookers at the camp in Calais criticised the ostentatious lettering last week by taking it down. But it appears this was not an act of protest but more an act of opportunism.
Lee McGrath, an aid worker from Lincolnshire, took part in dismantling the letters. “I hear they’re going to try and sell it on eBay, but they can’t because I went and took an ‘i,'” McGrath told NBC News. “If anyone wants to sell the sign to make a profit, they can’t because I’ve got part of it,” McGrath said. “I’m not telling you where it is, but it is secure.”
One of the works on display at Dismaland featured crammed migrant boats circling the waters near the White Cliffs of Dover, the first sight of Britain for many people who cross the Channel from France.