Street artist Banksy’s “Dismaland” exhibit in England officially closed on Sunday at 10 p.m., but its remains will not go to waste. Its pieces are being shipped to Calais, France, to build shelters for refugees.
Banksy is a graffiti artist and political activist but, above all, he is quite mysterious. Banksy is a pseudonym, and his real identity is unknown, save for a small crowd of people closest to him. This anonymity is quite representative of his peculiar artistic style, as seen in his recently closed exhibit. Dismaland opened at a resort in Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, England, toward the end of August. It earned its name because it was a parody of the family favorite Disneyland Resort. To put it best, Dismaland was designed to be a dystopian version of Disneyland. Rather than Disneyland’s dazzling castle, Dismaland had a crumbling knock-off of it. Instead of Disneyland’s bright, colorful rides, Dismaland had creepy versions of these attractions that are contorted, distorted and, ultimately, uncomfortable.
That being said, Dismaland is the kind of thing that is so horrendous, you cannot look away. It truly is a work of art and, although Banksy organized it, many other talented artists contributed to the exhibition to make it an all-around terrifyingly wonderful sight. This theme park exhibition took months to build, and with its large scale, its plentiful components will be put to good use in Calais.
And Calais can definitely use the help. There is a part of Calais that has become known as the “Jungle,” and it is completely occupied by thousands of displaced migrants who are hoping to move into the United Kingdom. The refugees living there are trying to make the most of their new home, including opening up restaurants, a church and hairdressers. The Jungle seems to be making its way towards a state of permanence. Despite its establishments, though, the living conditions are far from great. The area is surrounded by barbed wire, and most refugees are living under rickety rooftops, if that.
These migrants, however, can now look forward to a brighter day. With the help of Banksy and his dismantled Dismaland remnants, the Jungle can become a bit more comfortable and sheltered, which I am sure its residents would sincerely appreciate.
The Jungle itself rests on a channel that has Calais on one side, and England on the other. Therefore, I presume that France and England will be affected by Banksy’s donation, and I can’t help but wonder what those effects will be. They may not be thrilled about the refugees having all the more reason to make a long-lasting home there, but then again, it creates easier conditions for the U.K. to allow more migrants into the country. With the migrants in safer living conditions, the U.K. and France will have less to worry about time-wise and healthcare-wise in providing for the Jungle. I am sure many are sad to see Dismaland come to an end, but at least its parts are going to a good home that, I imagine, will satisfy Calais and its people as well as Bansky and Dismaland’s fans.