On the weekend of August 21, 2015, the “UK’s most disappointing” visitor attraction – appropriately named “Dismaland” – opened its gates to the public for five weeks. Despite uninviting taglines, referring to the site as a “family theme park unsuitable for children” and “a sinister twist on Disneyland,” people from around the world lined up to get a glimpse of Dismaland’s eerily dystopian landscape. For those who want to relive the trip (or experience it for the first time), Dismaland will now be brought back to life through British photographer Barry Cawston’s new book, Are We There Yet?
All images via Barry Cawston
Organized by street artist Banksy, Dismaland was a pop-up art exhibition and apocalyptic theme park, curated at Tropicana, an abandoned resort located in Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, England. Through the front gates, visitors once found Banksy’s artwork displayed alongside pieces created by 58 other global artists, including Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer and ESPO.
‘Car Crash Princess’, Barry Cawston, Dismaland
A Pig in a Poke’, Barry Cawston, Banksy’s Dismaland
‘False Sense of Security’, Barry Cawston, Dismaland
In addition to the art, the park was decorated with odd fair games and terrifying rides, including a carousel guarded by a sculpture of a butcher making lasagna from horses. Purposefully gloomy employees, dressed in unusually bright pink vests, also roamed around the grounds, offering little help to patrons.
‘Double Your Chances’ Barry Cawston, Weston Super Mare
‘A Dismal Welcome’ Barry Cawston, Banksy’s Dismaland
Cawston’s book, which is currently being funded on Kickstarter, features over one hundred photographs taken from Dismaland’s launch through to its closing on Sept. 27, 2015. Also included within its pages are images of the town, its residents and day-to-day scenarios, providing readers with a glimpse of 21st century Britain.
‘Evening Stroll’ Barry Cawston, Weston Super Mare
‘Life Can Change in an Instant’, Barry Cawston, Weston Super Mare
Although Dismaland has since been transformed into a migrant shelter, its legacy is immortalized thanks to Cawston’s book. Alongside the photographs, the final body of work features writing from author Tristan Manco, street artist Felix (FLX) Braun and Rachael Hobson (who visited the Tropicana in her teens), among many others. Are We There Yet? is also part of a larger project that includes an exhibition and various social media channels that salute the counter-cultural artists who have participated in the creation of Dismaland.
Next, check out photos from all 31 Days of Banksy’s Residency in New York City. Get in touch with the author @heysuehey.