Banksy at Porto by Barry Cawston
“BANKSY’S, DISMALAND AND OTHERS”
Banksy at Porto by Barry Cawston
You’re still on time to visit Barry Cawston’s photography exhibition in Porto. The exhibition is about a famous street artist that one knows, but still everyone knows him. We’re talking about Banky!
You’ve never heard of him? You might remember a Sotheby’s auction last October where Banksy’s “Girl with Balloon” painting got shredded. The unknown painter/graffiti artist was apparently present and recorded the whole event.
Alfândega do Porto, the old Porto customs building, hosts the exhibition “Banksy´s Dismaland and Others” by the British photographer Barry Cawston. The exhibition intends to take the public on a journey through the work of Banksy who for more than 25 years uses his art to question the values of society on themes such as war, child poverty and the environment.
The exhibition that was recently in Germany at Volklinger Hutta is now in Porto until the 31st of March. It shows 44 photos about Dismaland (2015), and another Banksy works like “Walled Off Hotel” (2017) or “Flower Thrower” (2005).
ABOUT BARRY CAWSTON
Barry Cawston was born in London in 1966 and now lives in Axbridge, near Bristol. His work has been awarded several times. In 2007, he won the Exeter Contemporary Open one of the UKs most prominent contemporary art competitions. In 2010 his work was recognized with the South West ArtPrize.
More recently, in 2014, the RWA Photographic Open has awarded him with the Chairman’s Choice Awar.
Besides these distinctions Barry Cawston has shown his works in several spots of the globe including Paris, Stockholm and Moscow. We should also highlight the work he did for the English Heritage about the monuments in danger in the UK, “Buildings at Risk”.
Barry Cawston is one of the most talented photographers today and, nowadays, considered the official photographer of the Urban Art International star, Banksy. The mysterious artist enjoyed his work so much that he published them on his own website, making him his “official” photographer.
“Dismaland Bemusement Park” was a temporary installation created in 2015 by Banksy in a recreational complex upon abandonment on the west coast of England.
The park was created by the Banksy and 50 invited artists and was a satire to the wonderful world of Disneyland.
There almost everything was turned upside down: the Little Mermaid in a distorted version; the paparazzi who shamelessly photograph Cinderella’s body, folded over the bumpy carriage; a refugee boat walks in one of the lakes; and the staff carries an annoying air that is inconsistent with the gay world of Disney.
In agreement with the environmental values of Banksy, after closing of “Dismaland” nothing was wasted. All the building materials were recycled into shelters for homeless migrants. In addition, specially trained surly and unhelpful staff were relocated to Virgin customer services.
In 2016 Barry Cawston immortalized the satiric park in a book “Are we there yet?”
WALLED OFF HOTEL
This is an art hotel set up and financed by Banksy located in the West Bank, 500 meters from the checkpoint to Jerusalem and a mile from the center of Bethlehem.
The hotel is open to the public, and contains rooms designed by Banksy, Sami Musa and Dominique Petrin, and each of the bedrooms face the wall. It also houses a museum and a contemporary art gallery which are open to non-residents.
It was aimed to be opened during the year of 2017 but it’s still accepting reservations until December 2019. Why 2017? In their words “2017 marked a hundred years since the British took control of Palestine and helped kick start a century of confusion and conflict”.
This stencilled graffiti, also known as “Love Is in the Air”, first appeared in 2003 in Jerusalem shortly after the construction of the West Bank wall. This work features a man dressed up in traditional street riot gear, wearing a cap on back-to-front and a bandana hiding his face and taking position to throw what could be a Molotov cocktail. Instead, Bansky advocated peace instead of war substituting the weapon by a bunch of flowers.
Besides these, “Banksy’s, Dismaland and Others” is also promoting the work of young Portuguese urban artists. In addition, the event will project documentaries like ‘Banksy does New York’ (2014) and ‘Saving Banksy’ (2017), highlighting the controversies and approaching his genius.