Palestinian Artist Kicked Out of Banksy’s ‘Dismaland’ for Protesting Israeli Participation in Exhibit
A Palestinian artist was kicked off the premises of a new “bemusement park” exhibit in Britain for protesting the presence of Israeli artists, the London-based, English-language edition of Al-Araby al-Jadeed reported on Tuesday.
According to the report, Shadi Alzaqzouq was escorted off the grounds of “Dismaland,” and told his paintings would be removed, after he placed a bed sheet over his work — with “R.I.P Gaza: Boycott Israel” written on it in coal – and laid it down “like a corpse” in front of his display.
He did this, he said, because he had not been informed by the event’s organizers that Israeli artists would be present.
Dismaland, a dark parody of Disneyland, set up Friday at the seaside resort of Weston-super-Mare, is the brainchild of British graffiti artist Banksy, whose real name remains a secret, but whose left-wing political activism, including open advocacy for Palestinians, is well-known.
In August 2005, Banksy painted nine pieces of graffiti on the security barrier erected between Israel and the Palestinian territories to keep Palestinian suicide bombers and other terrorists from easy access to Israeli civilians. Among these was a picture of Palestinian children trying to dig through the wall.
Alzaqzouq, thus, was surprised at the lack of sympathy his outrage at participating in a show along with Israeli counterparts elicited – particularly from Banksy, whom he described as “my hero for a long time.”
He told Al-Araby al-Jadeed that when he inquired about why his actions elicited such a harsh response, he was informed by Holly Cushing, believed to be Banksy’s manager, that his form of protest was too “ugly.”
According to Alzaqzouq — born to Palestinian parents in Benghazi, who lived in Libya, Gaza and Egypt before settling in France in 2007 — Cushing also said that an American art collector was interested in purchasing his pieces, “And that America and Israel were one and the same.”
The story does not end here, however. After the incident, Dismaland organizers did not take down Alzaqzouq’s pieces. Instead, they posted a sign on the display that reads: “The artist has decided to cover his work to protest being exhibited alongside artists from Israel. We are hoping to resolve the situation as soon as possible and apologise for any disappointment.”