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Local artists celebrate the end of BP Tate sponsorship

A group of local artists called HEART (Hastings Environmental Artist Response Team) has issued a statement hailing the end of oil giant BP’s twenty-six year sponsorship of two of Britain’s most iconic art galleries, and calling for other institutions, local and national, to sever their links with the fossil fuel industries.

The termination of BP’s sponsorship of the Tate galleries in London was announced last Friday. BP’s sponsorship of the arts has long been the focus of protests by artists concerned about climate change. Actions have included the delivery of a half tonne wind turbine blade to Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, an ‘Exorcism of BP’ led by US performance artist Reverend Billy, and a ‘License to Spill’ action, involving large quantities of black molasses, at Tate Britain. The Royal Opera House, British Museum, National Gallery and Royal Shakespeare Company have all reaffirmed their commitment to renewing their own sponsorship deals with BP.

HEART spokesperson Sarah Macbeth said: “It’s great news that protest has finally succeeded in terminating BP’s sponsorship of Tate. As a company whose business model depends on trashing the climate, BP shouldn’t be permitted to ‘artwash’ itself by associating itself with some of Britain’s most-cherished cultural institutions.”

Local artist Beccy McCray said: “We’re now calling on the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Royal Opera House and the British Museum to follow Tate’s lead and ditch BP, and for Hastings Council to call on East Sussex County Council to rid itself of its £172m worth of investments in the oil, coal and gas industries.”

Local graphic designer and artist [and HOT member] Erica Smith added: “I love living in Hastings, but it has the potential to be an ‘art vitrine’ – it’s important not to become too isolated from the national and international art world. I know a lot of local artists and art-lovers who would enjoy a day trip to Tate Modern and Tate Britain but feel uncomfortable about BP’s involvement with the organisation. Now BP have left the building, I am much happier about being a Member of the Tate.”

Posted 16:40 Wednesday, Mar 16, 2016 In: Arts News

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