Banksyâ€™s latest art installation, Dismaland, has come to an end. The maudlin take on Disneyland that took place in an old public pool in Somerset, Englandâ€™s Weston-super-Mare ran for 36 days and sold 4,000 tickets a day at Â£3 ($4.71) to the attraction itself. Major music acts like Massive Attack, Pussy Riot, and Run the Jewels played concerts at the modern art theme park as it drew tourists from all over England and the world. Now, just as fast as it had been erected in secret, the theme park is gone and will be torn down and used to shelter refugees.
The official Dismaland website was updated Monday with an announcement that the installationâ€™s larger construction materials will be sent to the Calais refugee camp where it can be used as shelters. Below a doctored photo of Dismalandâ€™s burnt-out princess castle amongst the tents of Calais, France, the website reads: â€œComing soonâ€¦ Dismaland Calais. All the timber and fixtures from Dismaland are being sent to the â€˜jungleâ€™ refugee camp near Calais to build shelters. No online tickets will be available.â€
The Jungle camp is actually a network of camps is on the North coast of France, near the entrance to the Eurotunnel and a port, where refugees who have been unable to gain passage to the United Kingdom have settled. Thousands of refugees from countries like Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia, Syria, and Sudan have made a makeshift town out of salvaged or donated materials as they attempt to sneak across the English Channel on a boat or through the tunnel.
The Calais Jungle camps have been the subject of several reports over the summer as the numbers of refugees swell with both sides of the refugee debate trying to use images from the makeshift camps and its many occupants to fuel their opposing views.
The Dismaland venture actually included an installation mocking how the United Kingdom was dealing with refugees. In the style of a carnival game where you can drive remote control boats on water in a tank, the boats in this murky tank are packed to the brim with refugees looking for asylum as the dead body of one floats face down.
Itâ€™s expected that the process of dismantling Dismalandâ€™s various structures is going to take three weeks, presumably being sent piecemeal to the camp outside Calais. Charities have previously sent building materials, plastic bags, and shipping pallets to the camps as well as basic supplies, but nothing has managed to meet the demand of the swelling number of refugees as French officials attempt to police and fence both the port and the tunnel from the constant attempts of over five thousand people.
While it was open, Dismaland is estimated to have brought Â£20 million worth of tourist business to Weston-super-Mare. It is unlikely to make any financial contribution to the Calais refugees, but will be at least an entire castleâ€™s worth of building lumber and maybe a messed up looking Little Mermaid.