Dubbed as “the hotel with the worst view in the world,” Banksy’s recent racy project, the Walled Off Hotel, is making headlines worldwide with its robustly strong political stance on the Palestinian struggle for independence. The ever-peculiar British-born street artist has expanded his artworks from the walls of unsuspecting neighbourhoods to the Holy Land of Bethlehem for some time now, though before his pieces are never as elaborate as the Walled Off Hotel. Though his messages are often disputed, confronting coeval issues that have marked this era such as globalism, anti-authoritarianism, human conditions as greed and absurdity, Banksy is nevertheless regarded as one of Britain’s cultural icons.
With “the worst view” looking over onto an Israeli security watchtower, room number three, otherwise known as Banksy’s Room, is where guests would sleep in a bed watched over by a poetic artwork of a Palestinian and Israeli in a pillow fight.
The Palestinian guesthouse is set to officially open its doors on 11 March to the public. It is reported to have nine functioning hotel rooms with an art gallery highlighting the contentiousness of the Israeli security barrier in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Its provocative and satirical art pieces have been the talk of the town among passersby. The owner of the hotel has allowed media establishments to tour the hotel and below we have a look at some of its thought-provoking design.
According to HyperAllergic, local Palestinians were astonished and moved by the artwork, with its precise details and overall level of thought put into it. Though some were doubtful and thought that the project would normalise the occupation happening in Palestine, the majority seems to view the project as favourable in creating awareness of the Palestinian struggle for justice and liberation.
To comply with Banksy’s elusive anonymity, the Walled Off Hotel project was kept under total confidentiality for 14 months – exactly how long it took for Banksy to complete the project according to Sam Salsaa, acting project representative from Beit Sahour. The entire interior was personally supervised by Banksy himself.
The budget room — up to six pax per room — will be available at $30 per night, though it will only be available for foreigners visiting the country. However, the highlights are the guestrooms outfitted with art, furniture, and items curated by Dominique Petrin, Sami Musa, and Banksy himself. Each room is made with a political statement in mind.
Beyond the novelty of statement-making guestrooms, the hotel features a gallery curated by Dr. Housni Alkhateeb Shehada as well as a museum curated by Dr. Gavin Grindon of Essex University. But what’s even more of interest is that the hotel will be ‘scored’ by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, 3D (Massive Attack), Hans Zimmer, Flea, and more via a colonial piano bar that is equipped with an automated player. Each night will have differing pre-recorded music played at 9pm.
According to a press who attended the tour, it is said that the hotel is Banksy’s largest body of work as of today.
This is not the first time Banksy had his artwork demonstrated in the Palestinian district. They have debuted in the Palestinian district as early as 2005 as nine trompe-l’œil escape scenes were painted in their landscape. Consequently, in early 2015, a 2-minute video apropos of Banksy’s trip to the Gaza Strip has surfaced on the Internet. The video observed graffiti artworks painted on the remains of houses after being destroyed by Israeli air forces.
Banksy’s outward actions were backed by his unidentified publicist, stating, “I don’t want to take sides. But when you see entire suburban neighbourhoods reduced to rubble with no hope of a future—what you’re really looking at is a vast outdoor recruitment centre for terrorists. And we should probably address this for all our sakes.”
More on Banksy here.