The anonymous street artist known only as Banksy has made a career from his politically subversive works of art. Usually discovered adorning the walls of unsuspecting neighborhoods, Banksy’s brazen social commentary has been the subject of frequent controversy, tackling themes of immigration, surveillance, and globalism, among other divisive topics.
In 2015, Banksy opened Dismaland — a temporary theme park and large-scale art installation that invited visitors to experience what may best be described as Mickey Mouse’s nightmare. To follow up, the artist has now opened an actual hotel in Bethlehem, West Bank, in an effort to call attention to the communities directly affected by the Israeli West Bank wall on the border between the State of Israel and the Palestinian territories. Here’s a look inside the artist’s controversial new hotel:
Palestinian passersby take note of the “Walled Off Hotel,” situated across the street from the Israeli security barrier in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. The owner of the hotel has opened the doors of this West Bank establishment to media, showcasing its unique “worst view in the world.” The nine-room hotel will officially open on March 11.
A sculpture of a monkey dressed in a bellhop uniform and carrying luggage stands outside the hotel entrance.
A painting by Banksy in one of the nine available rooms depicts an Israeli border police officer and a Palestinian man caught in a pillow fight.
In the hotel lobby, a classical-style bust is adorned with a face mask and surrounded by a cloud of tear gas.
In the hotel’s common space, original artwork by Banksy depicts a mother and her two children escaping a bulldozer.
The views from the hotel windows are noted by the owner as “the worst view in the world,” providing a direct sight line to the Israel-Palestine security barrier.
In one of the available bedrooms, a cracked television screen frames a painting of a woman picking up a stone on CNN.
In one room, a wall is decorated with models of military drones and a painting of Jesus with a sniper’s dot on his forehead.
A painting resembling artwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat and signed “Banksquiat” hangs above the bed in one of the bedrooms.
Across the street, graffiti artists use the the concrete barrier as a blank canvas for expressing political opinions.
The hotel keys come in the shape of the cement sections of the Israeli separation wall.
In one of the communal rooms of the hotel, two artificial goldfish float in separate fish bowls, just out of reach of each other.
On one wall, three picture frames and a vase of flowers form the motif of Banky’s famous depiction of a protester tossing a bouquet like a Molotov cocktail.
On display are surveillance cameras installed like hunting trophies, alongside slingshots and sledgehammers that are frequently used in protest by Palestinian activists.
A Banksy painting of a feline predator cozying up to a small white lamb hangs above the booths in the hotel lobby.
A trio of clocks painted with racing rats offer the local time in London, New York, and Jerusalem.
The hotel’s elevator is seen bricked up with a hanging sign that reads, “Sorry — out of service.”
In the bar area of the hotel, a piano is situated under paintings of baby angels, falling as they attempt to breathe from airplane oxygen masks.
A wide-angle view offers a greater perspective of the hotel’s location in Bethlehem in the West Bank.
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