1. ITV Report

Banksy reveals 'secret' exhibition due to open in Weston-super-Mare

New and never-before-seen satirical art and sculptures by renowned graffiti artist Banksy are set to go on show for the first time in major new exhibition in Weston-super-Mare.

Dismaland has been set up in the disused lido Tropicana Credit: PA

The artist is to host the event, entitled Dismaland Bemusement Park, at the disused Tropicana - a former lido on the popular resort's seafront.

The official Dismaland website claims the park provides "an alternative to the sugar-coated tedium of the average family day out" - or at least, it adds, it is "much cheaper".

It goes on to describe some of the pieces due to be on show, which include:

  • Water Cannon Creek: "An armour plated riot control vehicle built to serve on the streets of Northern Ireland. Equipped with sniper posts, grenade launchers and now – a children’s slide."
  • Guerilla Island: "Features a bus-mounted museum, library, gallery of guerilla art, Comrades Advice Bureau and workshops in how to hack billboards."
  • Jeffrey Archer Memorial Fire Pit: "Warm yourself around an authentic real open fire ceremonially lit each day by burning one of the famed local perjurer’s novels."

Even security workers outside the building appear to have been given orders on behaving according to the 'dismal' theme:

Featured artists range from Jenny Holzer, the first woman to represent the United States in the Venice Biennale, to Ed Hall, a pensioner who has spent 40 years producing every major trade union banner from his garden shed.

Knives, spray paint, and legal representatives of the Walt Disney Corporation will not be allowed inside, the website adds.

Huge installations were initially set up at the lido under the pretence of a crime thriller called Grey Fox being filmed at the site.

The exhibition will feature works from a collection of artists Credit: PA
A plan of the Dismaland Bemusement Park site Credit: Dismaland

The 'bemusement' park also has a display highlighting the dangers of seagulls, as ITV News' Rupert Evelyn reports:

North Somerset Council leader Nigel Ashton admitted the Hollywood film story had been a cover - and said it was a "relief" to be able to speak about what was really happening.

It gives me enormous pleasure to be hosting this world-class art exhibition in North Somerset, as well as great relief to be able to talk about it, finally.

We have been working closely with the organisers for months now, and for obvious reasons, have had to remain tight-lipped about the true nature of the event. In fact, only four people in the entire council knew what was really happening.

I had a preview of the exhibition while it was still being assembled last week, and I have to say, it is absolutely brilliant. As well as entertaining, it's also incredibly thought-provoking.

– Nigel Ashton, North Somerset Council
Dismaland opens at the weekend Credit: SWNS

In statement from the elusive artist, Banksy said he had "loved" the Tropicana as a child, adding: "Getting to throw these doors open again is a real honour."

He added:

It's a showcase for the best line-up of artists I could imagine, apart from the two who turned me down.

I guess you'd say it's a theme park whose big theme is - theme parks should have bigger themes.

– Banksy

Suspicions over the 'Grey Fox' story were raised when Holly Cushing, widely believed to be Banksy's agent, was spotted at the site.

Financial records then revealed she had set up a limited company called Dismaland Ltd with Simon Durban, who is believed to Banksy's accountant, on May 1.

Tickets will go on sale tomorrow, with the exhibition opening twice daily from this weekend for five weeks.

The Dismaland logo Credit: Dismaland