I was blissfully unaware of Banksy’s newest brainchild – a dystopian art exhibition in a far away seaside town – until a group of friends brought it up at lunch. An hour or so later, my best friend messages me keen to try our luck in getting tickets. Apparently it was a thing. So the next morning, I had the stressful job of securing four of us these high-in-demand weekend tickets…

Signs on the pavement direct us to DismalandMoving onto the stereotypical seaside town of Weston-super-Mare. Whilst the town itself seems a little run down, we were met with a beautiful sunset over the beach and arrows directing us towards the town’s biggest attraction of the last 50 years.

Sunset over the beach, Weston-Super-Mare.
Sunset over the beach, Weston-Super-Mare

Thankfully there wasn’t much of a queue when we got there. However with three of us in fits of giggles from the nonsense of the train journey from Bristol, we are stopped by security.

‘Wipe those smiles off your faces’.

‘Think of dead puppies’.

We weren’t allowed in until our faces had straightened up.

The galleries were fabulous, filled with interesting and though-provoking pieces from a variety of artists. The highlight for me was this clever piece Caroline McCarthy where the silhouette of herbs and shoots have been delicately cut out of ready meal cardboard boxes and positioned upright. The satisfying order and neatness to this collection of garden pots collides with the unnerving vastness of the ready meals boxes – who needs fresh produce when we can live on a diet of ready meals? 

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The other side of this beautifully carved wooden toy horse reveals its skeletal and muscular interior whilst this second sculpture isn’t quite the iconic Mickey Mouse we all know and love.

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A tiny model hand-crafted village has been created by Jimmy Cauty depicting a post-apocalyptic Britain devoid of all human life apart from the swells of police. Picture pile-ups, burned & looted buildings in miniature world.

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Another highlight of the Bemusement park was the open air cinema screening a range of shorts. My favourites include Teddy Has an Operation by Ze Frank and Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 1 by Becky Sloan & Joseph Pelling.

The bemusement park had a strange feel to it with the slight discord of seaside music playing throughout.

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Plain walls were pasted with notes and messages.
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A clear comment on todays society and its downfalls underpinned all installations in the park.
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Cinderella’s overturned carriage being photographed in the dark depths of the castle was the perfect final installation to view.DSC_0099

Banksy’s philosophy that art is for everyone is very much alive through this exhibition. Whilst you may not get everything being said, Banksy’s core anti-consumerist and anti-capitalist themes are evident throughout the dystopian concept Bemusement Park.

Try your hand at getting tickets online (or queuing outside for tickets) and let me know what you thought of the exhibit.

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