Palestinian Artists At Banksy’s Dismaland

U.K. artist Banksy is arguably the world’s most venerable graffiti artist in the world – an international fascination rooted both in his mesmerizing street art and the mystery that surrounds him given his hidden identity.

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
Photo Credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

The rebel artist has directed much of his fame toward the Palestinian cause and earlier this year visited the Gaza Strip where he stamped his signature style (above) and dedicated the graffiti art to the Palestinian people: “If we wash our hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless we side with the powerful – we don’t remain neutral.”

For his recent project Dismaland Bemusement Park – a melancholic riff on the famed theme park – Banksy invited three Palestinian artists for the collaborative venture that features over 50 artists from around the world.

Photo Credit: Press Association
Photo Credit: Press Association

Shadi Al Zaqzouq

Al Zaqzouq’s selected paintings are part of his larger Muslim Punk series.

Photo Credit: Shadi Al Zaqzouq
Photo Credit: Shadi Al Zaqzouq
Photo Credit: Shadi Al Zaqzouq
Photo Credit: Shadi Al Zaqzouq
Photo Credit: Shadi Al Zaqzouq
Photo Credit: Shadi Al Zaqzouq

After the France-based Al Zaqzouq discovered that three Israeli artists were also participating, he covered his paintings with a bed sheet and shirt and staged a protest lying as a corpse in front of his exhibit. Al Zaqzouq released the following statement on his website.

On Sunday August 23, I unilaterally decided to hold an organized performance to emphasize Gaza’s situation and to show my discontent at being exhibited alongside Israeli artists, one of them having served in the army. The organizers of the show allowed this protest to take place without prejudice. I am supporting the Boycott of Israel in all its forms, be it economical or cultural, as it seems to me that though the solution to the conflict is political, only an international citizen boycott can force our governments to sanction Israel for its continuous violation of our rights to exist. Dismaland is a show like no other and I am honored to have been selected by Banksy to figure amongst the participants and to show my artwork and its spirit to a larger public.

Photo Credit: Shadi Al Zaqzouq
Photo Credit: Shadi Al Zaqzouq
Photo Credit: Shadi Al Zaqzouq
Photo Credit: Shadi Al Zaqzouq

Al Zaqzouq’s paintings remain at Dismaland where curators have placed a plaque at his exhibit explaining, “The artist has decided to cover his work to protest at being exhibited alongside artists from Israel. We are hoping to resolve the situation as soon as possible and apologize for any disappointment.”

Sami Musa

Musa collaborated with activist Mohammed Khatib for the exhibit Chic-Art-Resistance, which traveled the occupied West Bank in 2013. The exhibit featured miniature versions of Israeli tools of occupation from security cameras to the ubiquitous barbed wire and tear gas. Two of the objects are featured at Dismaland.

Photo Credit: arrestedmotion.com
Photo Credit: arrestedmotion.com
Photo Credit: thewestonmercury.co.uk
Photo Credit: thewestonmercury.co.uk

See more of Musa’s work in a previous post we published on Chic-Art-ResistanceThe Many Uses of Israeli Tools of Occupation: From Flower Gardens to Christmas Trees

Sliman Mansour 

The doyen of contemporary Palestinian artists, Sliman Mansour is famous for his illustrations of Palestinian steadfastness against Israeli occupation and dispossession, known as sumud. His most famous painting Camels of Hardship (below) portrays a porter carrying the city of Jerusalem on his back. During the first Intifada, the Birzeit-born Mansour was deemed a subversive artist by the Israeli occupation authorities for his work celebrating Palestinian resistance and attachment to the land.

Alas, we have found no photographs of Mansour’s paintings at Dismaland. If you have visited or plan on visiting Dismaland, please pass along any photographs of Mansour’s exhibit at [email protected] 

Below are some of Mansour’s more famous works, a few of which may indeed be at Dismaland.

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Read about Mansour in the Jerusalem QuarterlyJerusalem:
City of Dreams

Dismaland is in Weston-super-Mare west of London and runs through 27th September. Tickets may be bought at the website.

By Khelil Bouarrouj.

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