Rumor has it that famous graffiti artist Banksy has decided to take on Disney with a cynical, pop-up exhibit that will possibly be called Dismaland. With a name like Dismaland, it can be deduced that Banksy will be poking fun at Disneyland by painting the famous theme park in a negative light. A dismal castle has already been constructed and can be seen from a distance.
The exhibit is at a British seaside resort and Vanity Fair reports that it may open this week. The Daily Mail estimates it will be open to the public on Friday. This is surprising news because locals were told that the closed off exhibit is actually a movie set with a film shoot in progress. Now, it seems the story of a movie shoot is a cover for Banksy’s latest exhibit.
There is strong evidence to support that the “movie set” is actually a Banksy exhibit. A woman who has been speculated in the past to be Banksy’s manager has started a company called Dismaland Ltd. with a person thought to be Banksy’s accountant. This supposed manager has been seen at the exhibit. Banksy himself is shrouded in mystery as the general public does not know who he is. For all most people know, he may actually be a she or a group of people.
This will not be the first time that Banksy has taken on Disney. In 2006, he managed to pull a fast one on Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland. A BBC News article from that year stated:
A life-size replica of a Guantanamo Bay detainee has been placed in Disneyland by “guerrilla artist” Banksy.
Banksy’s detainee replica was supposedly part of the landscape of the Big Thunder Mountain ride for an hour and a half before the ride was closed and the replica removed.
Disney, for all its devotion to fairy tale endings and wholesome messages, has been painted in a bad light by other artists in the past. Matt Stone and Trey Parker famously accused Disney of selling sex to little girls (via the Jonas Brothers) in 2009 in a “South Park” episode called The Ring. The Jonas Brothers are portrayed as being exploited by Mickey Mouse (who is real in the episode) and made to wear purity rings while functioning as sex symbols for pre-pubescent girls.
Why Banksy has decided to target Disney for a second time remains to be seen. It’s still not clear to the author of this column what his message was when he planted a replica of a Guantanamo Bay detainee on Big Thunder Mountain. Once Dismaland opens to the public, his message about the role of Disney in the world may become clearer.