Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel opened earlier this month in Bethlehem. And it’s a trip! After reading this interview in which he spoke in detail about his artistic vision for the project, and seeing the photographs of the project, I was entranced. It’s both a powerful political statement and funny as hell. But dark-funny. It’s a send-up of Occupation, a sly, devastating satiric evisceration of Israel’s policies.
And yes, it’s a real, functioning hotel, beautifully decorated. You can book a room and live within a work of art. A pretty amazing opportunity.
Pay special attention to some of the highlights I noticed in these photographs:
- The chimp bell boy in full regalia chained to the bars at the front door
- The picture of the lion and the lamb with the lion suitably obscured or effaced by graffiti.
- A mock European domestic scene of a home with a thatched roof…about to be demolished by an IDF bulldozer
- Graphic art as TV screen displaying Palestinian woman (in shades!) throwing stones
- Art in a wire cage
- A hotel room featuring a telescope with a perfect view of…the Separate Wall
- An art work hanging above a bed featuring an Israeli soldier and Palestinian militant engaged in a pillow fight
- A bedroom decorated in blood-red decor with an image on the wall of a bandaged heart enveloped in barbed wire
- The lounge with art displayed on the wall…consisting of slingshots, surveillance cameras, and cherubs in gas masks
- A classical bust in the library…masked and shrouded in tear gas
- A typical European traveler enjoying tea at her table…overlooking an Israeli watchtower
- Jesus looks up beseechingly from a European painting…at Israel drones hovering ominously overhead
The hotel website answers a series of important questions about the project.