The British street artist Banksy just announced the imminent opening of his new piece: the “Walled Off Hotel” in Bethlehem, with a view of the Israeli separation wall.
The British street artist Banksy continues to surprise with a new creation in the Palestinian territories. It is, in intention, “the worst view of any hotel in the world”, as defines it Wisam Salsaa, the hotel manager. Yes, because his attraction, in typical banksy style of poetic transfiguration of reality with feigned innocence, is the separation wall built by Israel in 2002 to protect itself against incursions from the West Bank during the Second Intifada.
The hotel along with the exciting landscape is in Bethlehem and is called “Walled Off Hotel”, a name that recalls a famous ultra-luxury hotel chain.
The building, that had already a regular hotel license and was converted at first from an old pottery factory, has been just renovated.
Inside, there are ten different rooms, eight of them personally decorated by Banksy, the other two containing works by the Palestinian artist Sami Musa and the Canadian Dominique Petrin, chosen by curator and art historian Ismal Duddera.
Each room has its attraction and specialties as follows:
- The “Scenic” room is from which you can enjoy the best view on the wall with army watchtower on display.
- The “Presidential” room is filled with a range of accessories that every corrupted head of state might want.
- The “Budget” room is furnished with objects from an Israeli military barracks that, being simple, has a bargain price of $ 30.
- The “Artist” or “Banksy Room” contains the artist’s showpiece. It is the painting of a Palestinian protester and an Israeli policeman during a pillow fight. It is painted on the head of the double bed.
All rooms except the “Budget”, have bathroom, wi-fi, fridge, radio, safe, air conditioning and earplugs.
But it’s not all. The hotel has also a museum, organized in association with Dr Gavin Grindon from Essex University, dedicated to the wall that has been completed only for two-thirds and at the end, in intention, it will be 712 km long. The museum contains documents, photographs and videos that trace the history of the wall. There is also an animated history of the region, military pornography and an original sculpture dedicated to Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian child who drowned and was washed up on a beach in Turkey in September 2015. A separate gallery is curated by Ismal Duddera and includes works by some of the most prominent Palestinian artists over the last 20 years.
The hotel will accept reservations starting on 11th of March and will be officially opened the 20th. Even if you do not take a room, the museum and art gallery will be open every day from 11 am to 7:30 pm. There is also a piano bar, serving food and drinks from 11 am to 22 pm.
Here you can find the FAQ related to the project.
Unlike his accountant who is worried that people wouldn’t come for safety concerns, Banksy is optimistic, pointing out that had a packed “bemusement park’ in Weston-super-Mare. Moreover, he adds, “Walls are hot right now, but I was into them long before Trump made it cool.”