“All the timber and fixtures from Dismaland are being sent to the ‘jungle’ refugee camp near Calais to build shelters,” says a notice on Banksy’s website.
It’s not a surprising action, given that much of the work at Dismaland encouraged visitors to take action themselves. There was even a stall showing how to open up bus shelters and insert your own poster (a handy skill, put to use by Banksy followers on the first day of a huge global arms fair in London).
As old-school activist Jeremy Corbyn takes over as leader of the Labour Party, we look at action and politics in art.
Ai Weiwei, the Chinese dissident has a show currently at The Royal Academy, billed as unmissable (until 13 December). Weiwei grew up in a society where the word artist was banned and you would be punished for independent thinking. His work, even now, has to tread an ambiguous line to confuse the Chinese State and pass beneath its censorship radar. The exhibition includes a version of Weiwei’s ‘Sacred’ inspired by his captivity in a Chinese prison – a shockingly accurate remake of the cell he was kept in.
As a prelude to the show, Ai Weiwei showed solidarity with world migrants, walking eight miles through London with fellow artist Anish Kapoor.
Street art is one of the most politically engaged art forms of our times – inherently outside the ‘system’ and intrinsically ‘disobedient.’ As well as Banksy, in our own portfolio of street artists we salute artists such as Blek le Rat – the veteran Frenchman– who famously paints rats to suggest something rotten at the heart of Parisian society. Dolk, the Norwegian graffiti artist, who conveys subtly subversive messages about political rule and modern society – such as his image of Prince Charles in a cardboard Burger King Crown. Or Tracey Emin and her exposure of the very private politics of femininity: abortion, miscarriage and rape.