Just when we were about to let you know that Banksy's Walled Off Hotel recently released a music album, Bethlehem's most famous hospitality business also unveiled a brand new souvenir series. Depicting a hooded writer tagging the torn down wall, or tearing it down himself, the new series portrays a long-time dream of many locals that live around the despised structure. Now including a watchtower element, they are an elaborate and much more serious version of Banksy's legendary wall sections released a couple of months ago. Each different, and hand painted by local artists, these souvenirs are produced by the hotel and available for hotel visitors only.
Almost simultaneously, the hotel used the annual Palestine Music Expo (PMX), to release the fruits of a "Creative Retreat" it hosted in February of this year. Banksy has long collaborated with prominent musicians, and for this release he enlisted the support of musical pioneer Brian Eno, The Black Madonna, and Moloko lead singer Roisin Murphy. The album was a year in the making and brainchild of artistic producers Block9, who assembled the eclectic group of international musicians, producing seven new tracks, all inspired by Palestine’s history and people. “The collection of music is political, inasmuch as it encourages people to take action and participate in the world, as opposed to being a passive bystander. It’s about taking some action. Engage,” stated Block9 co-founder Steve Gallagher about the Walled Off Hotel Creative Retreat Album, which is now available for free download on Soundcloud. ––Sasha Bogojev