Is Banksy’s New Project a Subversive Disneyland Parody?

Welcome to "Dismaland."

Banksy’s latest project appears to be a dark parody of Disneyland, according to local sources in the British resort town of Weston-super-Mare. The Tropicana, a 10,200-square-foot abandoned swimming pool facility, has been sealed off under the auspices of a Hollywood production company using it to film. But intelligence has emerged that it is in fact a large-scale Banksy production called “Dismaland.”

A giant pink castle, a windmill, an S-shaped gas tanker, and a metal horse are among the structures that have been slowly erected over the past few months. The site has signs that read “Crew Notice Grey Fox Productions,” posted around the exterior of the area.

Speculation that the production was affiliated with the famed street artist began to mount when eagle-eyed observers spotted Holly Cushing, Banksy’s alleged manager who fans may recognize from Exit Through The Gift Shop, onsite talking to security guards.

According to the Daily Mail, financial records show that Cushing and Simon Durban, who is believed to be Banksy’s accountant, set up a company earlier this year under the name “Dismaland,” a play on words that goes back to a 2012 stencil the artist produced that reads: “Welcome to Dismaland…Life isn’t always a fairytale.”

In 2006, Banksy allegedly inserted a life-sized inflatable doll dressed as a Guantanamo Bay prisoner inside a ride at Disneyland.

The subversive theme park, which is expected to open to the public on August 21, is the kind of ambitious intervention audiences haven’t seen since the artist’s 2013 “New York residency,” in which he painted or installed a new artwork somewhere in the city every day for a month. Given Banksy’s elusive and playful nature, it’s likely that trolling everyone to believe a film company is involved is just another facet of the artwork.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.


Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.

You are currently logged into this Artnet News Pro account on another device. Please log off from any other devices, and then reload this page continue. To find out if you are eligible for an Artnet News Pro group subscription, please contact [email protected]. Standard subscriptions can be purchased on the subscription page.

Log In