You’ve probably heard of Banksy‘s Dismaland, a dystopian amusement park which closed its doors in October of this year. However you may not have known the installations used for this art project have since been transferred to the port-side town of Calais France by volition Banksy himself. Labeled “Dismal Aid”, the timber and building materials have been repurposed into housing, children’s play areas, and community centers for the 7000+ Syrian refugees.
At the same time, Banksy has taken this opportunity to spread a few messages about the situation of “The Jungle”, the largest refugee camp in Western Europe. Three new pieces with very strong messages can be seen around Calais – read on below to see the images and brief descriptions.
The Steve Jobs Piece
With weathered clothing and an exhausted body language we see a depiction of Steve Jobs, sporting the now notorious expression from this iconic photograph. Steve carries an old Macintosh computer and a bin bag or rucksack on his shoulders. The message? Jobs is himself a son of Syrian migrants, he is of the same lineage as the refugees escaping ISIS today.
In a rare public statement to accompany the piece, Banksy expressed his drive and the message:
“We’re often led to believe migration is a drain on the country’s resources but Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian migrant. Apple is the world’s most profitable company, it pays over $7billion a year in taxes – and it only exists because they allowed in a young man from Homs.”
The Medusa Piece in the Center of Calais
Based on French artist Théodore Géricault’s Raft of The Medusa, Banksy updates the dark and striking piece with a small background image of a modern cruise ship or luxury yacht. The boat, like the original piece, is embroiled in an intense struggle with the sea. The message of “We are not all in the same boat” speaks for itself.
The Young Boy Piece on the Beach
A silhouette of a young boy can be seen looking through a telescope while a vulture watches over him. The message of hope, future and dreams is cast harshly against a looming potential reality of darkness and death.
These artworks have been well-received by the city of Calais with an official statement in the local newspaper by mayor Natacha Bouchart, describing their value for the city. The city has expressed their commitment to protect the pieces behind transparent plastic shields, so the message and artworks remain intact for the foreseeable future.