A new installation in Weston-super-Mare bearing all of the characteristics of a Banksy has been unveiled. The giant sculpture of a theme-park castle and tanker has appeared on the site of a derelict funfair, at the former Tropicana site, in North Somerset. The new artwork consists of a sand castle with a windmill on top and several rundown rides. It is next to a Disney-like ‘magic kingdom’ castle.
The enormous structures dubbed ‘Dismaland’ have “all the hallmarks” of Banksy, says Richard Jones the editor of the best known book on the street artist. Rumours have been flying that a Banksy installation would appear in the area this August.
The BBC reported unconfirmed suggestions that Banksy has been creating a new “pop-up” exhibition on the former Tropicana lido site in the seaside resort, Weston-super-Mare. The castle and sculpture made from tanker trucks can be seen above the walls. Local residents were told that a Hollywood film company was using the area for a production.
The Daily Mail reported that Holly Cushing – one of the executive producers of Banksy film Exit Through the Gift Shop – had been spotted at the Tropicana site. In May, along with Simon Durban, a fellow director at Pest Control Ltd, which authenticates Banksy’s works, she set up another company called “Dismaland Ltd”. Mr Jones, the editor of Banksy’s Bristol: Home Sweet Home, told BBC Radio Bristol it looked like a “major Banksy show” would take place at the Tropicana. He said: “There have been rumours for some time, but nobody knew when it was going to happen or when.” “I think we can be fairly confident there’s going to be a show at the Tropicana. It has all the hallmarks of a Banksy ploy, if you like.” “It’s going to be called Dismaland apparently, a take on Disneyland. It’s one of Bansky’s themes about consumerism and the great American dream.” He predicted, if the exhibition was confirmed, Weston-super-Mare would “benefit hugely” from it. His Banksy versus Bristol Museum show in 2009 attracted more than 300,000 visitors over 12 weeks and was estimated to have boosted the local economy by £10m.
Banksy is a legendary graffiti artist. His work typically includes satirical social and political commentary, and ranges from murals to sculpture and installation, often playing with the contextual aspects of the work. The artist’s first solo show was held in 2002 at Los Angeles’ 33 1/3 Gallery, and in 2003 he was commissioned to design to cover of Blur’s ThinkTank. Today, Banksy’s work appears internationally; most notably, he painted nine sardonic images on the Palestinian side of the West Bank barrier. In Summer 2009, Banksy took over the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery with an exhibition attracting over 300,000 visitors and hour-long queues all the way down the road.
Photos: Courtesy BBC