Finally, we managed to get tickets for Dismaland Bemusement Park! It was a mission to get there. Frantically swapping work days around, a 3 hour drive each way and the hour long queue to get in. It was so worth it!
Banksy describes it as a “family theme park unsuitable for small children” – and with the Grim Reaper whooping it up on the dodgems and Cinderella horribly mangled in a pumpkin carriage crash, I can see why.
The name and the brand is obviously and brilliantly a play on Disneyland, but Banksy has insisted the show was not a swipe at Mickey and co. “I banned any imagery of Mickey Mouse from the site,” he said, although all the staff are wearing Mickey Mouse ears. I wonder what Disney makes of it?
Works by 58 handpicked artists including Damien Hirst and Jenny Holzer have been installed across the 2.5-acre site. Julie Burchill has rewritten Punch & Judy to give it a Jimmy Savile spin.
Other highlights include a model boat pond with dead bodies and overly crowded boats full of asylum seekers; and a puppet revue show constructed from the contents of Hackney skips. Banksy himself has created 10 new works, including the Cinderella crash in a large castle.
There is so much to be amused or bemused by – the “I am an imbecile” helium balloons, the back-of-your-head caricature artist – but a big chunk of it is deadly serious and overtly political.
The depressed staff in pink hi-vis jackets really add to the experience, they are properly abusive! My husband was seriously admonished for sitting on the carousel, next to the horse butcher and Lasagne boxes.
It was so refreshing to visit something that felt real and gritty. It provokes reaction and demands interaction. As Mum to a four year old it was a pleasant departure from Peppa Pig World and techni-coloured plastic days out. I would describe it as an inspirational alternative art installation that I feel lucky to have been able to attend.
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