As with all that surrounds Banksy’s Dismaland, it’s hard to know what’s honest and what’s hoax. Shadi Alzaqzouq, a 34-year old Palestinian artist showing work at Dismaland, claims that Banksy’s security guards threw him out of the dystopian theme park after he covered up his work.
Alzaqzouq told the Jewish Chronicle, "I found out when (I) arrived at the show that three Israeli artists were taking part, one of whom served in the IDF,” he said. “I decided I had to protest in some way so I went and got a bed sheet from my hotel room and wrote "R.I.P Gaza: Boycott Israel" on it in coal and hung it over my artwork and laid down like a corpse in front of my two paintings on display.”
After he’d staged his protest, security guards informed him that the work was "too ugly" and a sign was added next to his work explaining the decision. Alzaqzouq took to his Facebook page to explain his decision and post images of the work that he’d covered up.
"I am supporting the Boycott of Israel in all its forms, be it economical or cultural, as it seems to me that though the solution to the conflict is political, only an international citizen boycott can force our governments to sanction Israel for its continuous violation of our rights to exist," he said. "Dismaland is a show like no other and I am honored (sic) to have been selected by Banksy to figure amongst the participants and to show my artwork and its spirit to a larger public."
Bansky has made a career out of protest art, making this decision to remove Alzaqzouq very strange. He’s also made art highlighting the plight of the Gaza strip – earlier this year he released a mock travel advert intended to highlight the perils that Palestinian people face every day. The British street artist also painted a mural on the remains of a house reduced to rubble during the peak of the Israel-Palestine conflict last year.
Having spent a lifetime using art to protest, it seems highly strange that Banksy would censor another artist speaking his political mind through his work. Watch Banksy’s travel advert for Palestine below.