Timber and fixtures from street artist Banksy's "Dismaland" theme park in western England will be sent to build shelters at a migrant camp in Calais, northern France, the elusive street artist said on his website. An official in the French city, however, told CNN he knew nothing of the plans to ship the material to the refugee camp in their area.
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The "bemusement park", billed as Britain's "most disappointing visitor attraction", was a sell-out attracting more than 150,000 paying visitors in the five weeks it was staged in Weston-super-Mare. Banksy, whose identity has never been confirmed, said the show was not a swipe at Disney, but the dilapidated castle, a Cinderella dead in a coach crash providing a photo opportunity for the paparazzi and sulky attendants wearing Mickey mouse ears, all mocked and subverted the world's best known theme park, which was replicated in Europe as Disneyland Paris. In an interview with the London Sunday Times, he called it "a family attraction that acknowledges inequality and impending catastrophe."
"Coming soon ... Dismaland Calais," the Dismaland website said, with a picture of Dismaland's Sleeping Beauty castle among the tents of the Jungle camp. "All the timber and fixtures from Dismaland are being sent to the 'jungle' refugee camp near Calais to build shelters. No online tickets will be available." The camps is one of a number of camps around the French port, where thousands of people are staying in the hope of traveling to Britain.
Dismaland, which closed its doors on Sunday, attracted people from all over the world, the North Somerset Council said, generating global publicity and a 20 million pound ($30.35 million) economic boost for the resort.
On Wednesday CNN reported at the an official from the Calais mayoral office said the town had not received a request to move materials from Dismaland to the Jungle camp and that groups working with the refugees had not heard about any such plan either. "One cannot just do what one wants," CNN quoted the official, who was identified simply as Louis, as saying. Calais has attracted migrants from Syria, Libya, Eritrea and elsewhere.
Earlier this year in the northern Gaza Strip, a Palestinian man, Rabea Darduna, said he had sold his bombed-out doorway to a local artist without realizing that the image painted on it was by Banksy and could be worth a small fortune. Darduna, a father of six, said he sold the iron-and-brick doorway of his destroyed house to a local man who offered him 700 shekels ($175) for it. Banksy visited Gaza this year and spray-painted an image of a goddess holding her head in her hand on the door, one of a handful of paintings he did in Gaza.
"I had no idea what the value of the painting was or who this Banksy is," a frustrated Darduna told Reuters by telephone. "If I knew I would never have sold the door so cheap."