British street artist Banksy is opening a darkly humorous theme park in southwest England that spoofs Disneyland — an anti-theme park if you like.
On its website Dismaland — which opens Saturday for five weeks only — is described as a “festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchism.”
It says it is an “alternative to the sugar-coated tedium of the average family day out.”
The theme-park installation features art work by Banksy and other artists such as British bad boy Damien Hirst (he of shark preserved in a tank of formaldehyde fame) and is housed on the grounds of a disused outdoor swimming pool complex called the Tropicana in Weston-super-Mare, a seaside town near Banksy’s native Bristol.
“I loved the Tropicana as a kid, so getting to throw these doors open again is a real honor,” Banksy said on the website of North Somerset Council, which owns Tropicana.
Banksy is an elusive artist who has built a reputation for politically and socially charged graffiti placed in surprising locations. His identity has never been confirmed.
The theme park — an apocalyptic spectacle in many ways, say those who have visited it ahead of its open — features a range of bleak, dystopian versions of Disneyland standards from a grim fantasy castle to an “oil caliphate themed” mini-golf course.
In one exhibition, the books of Jeffrey Archer, a popular British novelist and former politician, will be burned each day in a fire pit.
Kids, and lawyers, are not allowed.
“The following are strictly prohibited in the Park — spray paint, marker pens, knives and legal representatives of the Walt Disney Corporation,” Dismaland’s website says.