Banksy’s reputation as a world class street artist was further cemented this month when it was reported that a new guesthouse in the West Bank has been designed and decorated by the man himself.
The Walled Off Hotel is located in Bethlehem in the West Bank, and claims to have the “worst view in the world”: the controversial bleak barrier wall which separates the territories of Israel and Palestine.
Opened officially on March 11, 2017, the hotel has nine bedrooms and overlooks the barrier wall and an Israeli watchtower. The wall has been decorated heavily by street artists, and Banksy has painted a number of murals on it which reflect his satirical, political, trompe l’oeil style.
The Walled Off Hotel facility has been independently devised and funded by Banksy.
Styled as a traditional English colonial gentleman’s club with a twist, the hotel includes a museum of Banksy’s commentary work on war, environment, and child poverty as well as other themes. It also has a gallery showcasing local Palestinian artists. This exists alongside deep leather sofas and delicate china tableware. There is customized artwork by Banksy featured in most rooms, with large wall murals decorating the interiors. One (above the bed in room three) depicts an Israeli and a Palestinian having a pillow fight. A few rooms feature customized work by artists including Dominique Petrin and Sami Musa.
Banksy worked under strict terms of secrecy to complete the project, and the entire interior of the hotel was overseen by the artist. Even Palestinian officials were surprised when the hotel opened this month.
The hotel’s guests must abide by very strict rules. Booking any room requires a refundable deposit of USD $1000 to protect the artwork (even though the cheapest room is just $30 per night). No fanaticism of any kind will be tolerated on the premises.
The aim of the hotel is to attract foreign tourists to a part of the West Bank where they’d not usually go. It’s a viewpoint into life’s realities in the region as well as a boost to Palestinian economy. It employs locals, welcomes Israelis, and will hopefully boost the economy of Bethlehem.
Banksy has a history of working in the area. He has painted various times on the border wall, and is believed to have sneaked into Gaza in 2016 to complete four street murals.
At United Streets of Art, we showcase Banksy’s work on some of our fantastic phone cases, wallets, unique passport holders, and more. Check us out today.
Cover Photo: Source Haaretz