Monday, 17 December, 2018

Banksy's Walled Off Hotel opens its doors on Bethlehem's barrier wall

Emma Graham Harrison 
New banksy artwork in a room in his new Bethlehem hotel Emma Graham Harrison New banksy artwork in a room in his new Bethlehem hotel
Melinda Barton | 04 March, 2017, 00:38

Street artist Banksy has opened a hotel just metres away from the wall that divides the Israeli and Palestinian territories on the West Bank. Now more than ever, one of his most cogent pieces advises, "If you get exhausted, learn to rest, not quit".

Gavin Grindon of the University of Essex, who co-curated with Banksy the museum inside "The Walled Off Hotel", stands by the reenactment of the signing of the year 1919 Balfour declaration.

The infamous but anonymous graffiti artist Banksy is looking for wise men and women to trek to the West Bank city of Bethlehem but to a very different resting place-his new hotel.

Rooms range from $30-a-night "budget rooms" with army barrack bunk-beds to a "presidential suite" with its own library, cinema, roof garden, and tiki bar. When explaining what his vision for the hotel was, he added that the structure was "a three-story cure for fanaticism, with limited vehicle parking".

Banksy is no stranger to Bethlehem, first visiting the area over a decade ago.

The artist has a long history in the Palestinian territories.

The wall has become a major focus for demonstrations and art work. With the building of the Walled Off, locals expect to see a boost in jobs as the number of visitors also rises.

The hotel itself is also created to educate visitors and incite dialogue between them ― in typical Banksy fashion, with a dark sense of humor.

The hotel will be open for bookings on its website, which is yet to launch, later this month.

While most Palestinian cities in the West Bank are forbidden for Israelis to visit, the part of Bethlehem where the hotel is located is under Israeli control, meaning Israeli tourists can also visit.

Banksy said in 2005 that he considered the wall illegal and that his work sought to highlight the impact of the barrier on the lives of Palestinians.