Thursday, 17 September 2015

Dismaland: A Review by Mel

I often lack motivation, so it is with some irony, that I must report I have yet to find the time to travel down to Weston super Mare for the Banksy exhibition. I would really like to go, but it's tricky bus-wise and I don't think it's an appropriate place for a nine year old, which obviously limits when I can go. All is not lost though, as my intrepid explorer friend Mel, from Diary of a Jewellery Lover did all the legwork for me and reports her findings below. After reading her answers though, I would now really quite like to go. That's more irony, right there. Over to you, Mels.

What made you want to visit the Banksy exhibition? 

I have been a fan of modern art for a long time and I love visiting modern art museums. My son is also a big fan of Banksy. In the past we walked around Bristol trying to spot the Banksy art on the walls there. We wanted to visit as the exhibition sounded different and it had a sense of humour! I was also amazed that this was happening only about a hour from where I live, as normally something like this happens in big cities like London or Manchester.

Who did you go with? 

I visited with my husband and teenage son who is a brilliant artist. << This is true!!

Dismaland Castle
Dismaland Castle

How would you rate your overall experience of the exhibition? 

I think the exhibition is excellent. You have to go in with an open mind and a sense of humour. It's certainly a thought-provoking and at times challenging exhibition. I must admit, it is not for traditionalists, or for children. Disneyworld it is not that's for sure. 

I also thought the staff were great as they really joined in with the ethos of a 'bemusement park'. They were suitably miserable, depressed and sarcastic. As we went into the exhibition a Mickey Mouse eared member of staff was handing out leaflets, but she would not give one to my husband. He went back three times but she still wouldn't then she ran out :) Customer service at it's best and all played along in good humour.  My son was stopped by a member of staff as he was videoing. She put her hand over his lens, then ate a KitKat slowly. He had to wait until she finished...

Which was your favourite exhibit overall? 

I honestly could not pick one exhibit. The exhibition is not just Banksy's work, it is an exhibition in conjunction with 58 other artists. There are some clever set pieces and installations. I enjoyed the three large galleries jam-packed with art work. Some of the interesting work included the china figurines in a classical 'Royal Doulton' style in a glass cabinet, on further investigations they were decorated with tattoos. Another art work was a drawing in black and white of a forest in incredible detail. The trees were cut and appeared bleeding with red oozing from the stumps. Another drawing was of a mother and her children on the beach,  with buckets and spades enjoying the sun. The happy scene was in juxtaposition with the tsunami that was soon to engulf them. 

I also enjoyed the 'fairground' stalls . On one stall you had to hook a duck...the prize was a fishfinger in a bag!  

Dismaland Artwork Tsunami
Mother fails to notice Tsunami

Which age group do you think would find the exhibition most enjoyable and why? 

I think if you love modern art that you will love the exhibition. I saw a lot of young adults there too so it definite appeals to the student crowd and those brought up on modern art.

Was there anything about the exhibit that you felt could be improved? 

There is so much to see and do, and the queues for some parts of the exhibition were long. I think if you enjoyed it and you can get tickets go twice to see everything. We stayed for about 2 hours and still had things to see.

If there was another exhibit similar to this. How would you advise people prepare for the day out? (What should they bring with them, research or expect from a Banksy exhibit?)

Expect the unexpected and don't go if your easily offended. As you went into 'Cinderella's' castle you get your photo taken like you do in a theme park, then when you enter there is an overturned Cinderella's carriage with the paparazzi taking photos. As you exit you can buy the photo which super imposes you on the photo of the paparazzi with the carriage as if you are part of them. This is Banky's social commentary on the death of Princess Diana. 
There is also a section of a boat pond, filled with model boats packed full of migrants. 

Dismaland Cinderella Upturned Carriage
Cinderalla's wrecked carriage

In conclusion this is a thought provoking and interesting modern art exhibition that can be serious but also fun. If you open minded and like modern art and can get tickets before it ends on the 28th of September then I urge you to go.

Dismaland Migrant Boat

To find out more, read Mel's review here.

If you'd like to read more Bristol based posts, try this one! Down by the Harbourside



  1. I wish I lived nearer and could have gone to this, it sounds amazing and I love the clever detail. I wouldn't say I am an arty person at all but it really appealed to me.

  2. I'd considered visiting but then decided it wasn't really for me.


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