Banksy’s Shuttered Dismaland Will Be Repurposed for Migrant Shelters in Calais

Coming soon: Dismaland Calais.

Banksy posted this image for "Dismaland Calais" on the Dismaland website.

After a five-week-long, sold-out run, Banksy’s Dismaland is no more. The anonymous British street artist will be repurposing the structures from the dystopian theme park to help build shelter for a migrant camp in Calais, France.

Workers began dismantling Dismaland today, a process expected to take three weeks. The “bemusement park” website has been updated to include a photo showing Banksy’s creepy take on Cinderella’s castle surrounded by a tent city.

“All the timber and fixtures from Dismaland are being sent to the ‘jungle’ refugee camp near Calais to build shelters,” read an accompanying message. “No online tickets will be available.”

Dismaland at night. Photo: Press Association.

Dismaland at night.
Photo: Press Association.

Calais’s “jungle camp” is currently home to an estimated 5,000 displaced people from Syria, Libya, Eritrea, and other Middle Eastern and African countries suffering from political instability.

While on view in Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, the exhibition welcomed 150,000 visitors (difficulties with online ticketing aside), bringing in £20 million (roughly $30 million) in tourism trade despite its subversive, anti-capitalist themes.

“It’s ambitious, but it’s also crap. I think there’s something very poetic and British about all that,” said the anonymous street artist of the project in a self-published interview. Banksy kept the project tightly under wraps until shortly before the August 21 opening.

Banksy's Dismaland. Photo: Florent Darrault, via Wikimedia Commons.

Banksy’s Dismaland.
Photo: Florent Darrault, via Wikimedia Commons.

Highlights of the run included a visit from Brad Pitt, a protest from one of the exhibition’s 60 artists, and a purported Banksy sighting.

Banksy chose the former Tropicana pool, closed since 2000, as the site for his depressing, adults-only parody of the family-friendly amusement park. Among the attractions were an anarchist training camp, a merry-go-round with a butcher poised to dismember a carousel horse, and paparazzi swarming the wreck of Cinderella’s carriage.

Though Dismaland is moving on, expect more art events for the small British seaside town. “We have three or four arts-based events lined up already to take place in the [Tropicana] building,” a spokesperson for the North Somerset Council told the BBC.

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