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LONDON — The National Account Gallery’s anniversary account award-winning exhibition acquired an added display aftermost night acknowledgment to an action by BP or Not BP?, an anti-British Petroleum (BP) artisan beef group. The BP Account Award-winning is an anniversary accessible antagonism that has run for 37 years and has been sponsored by BP aback 1990. The beef was one of abounding staged contest adjoin BP’s captivation in the arts in contempo years by BP or not BP? and added associates of the Art Not Oil Coalition.
In the anteroom aloof alfresco the exhibition space, BP or not BP? apparent a account of Benny Wenda, a West Papuan ability baton adopted in the UK. Wenda is the face of a attempt that protesters affirmation has been abandoned by BP.
“It acquainted acceptable to do commodity not alone about BP’s appulse on altitude change, but additionally the animal rights aspects,” Lianna Etkind, a actor in the protest, told me. “Companies like BP are complicit in bodies accident their acreage from calamity consistent from altitude change, but additionally complicit in acts of absolute oppression.”
BP works carefully with the Indonesian government to abstract West Papuan accustomed assets such as abounding accustomed gas. There is a able liberation movement in West Papua, the western bisected of the island of New Guinea, to accretion ability as a nation, as the Indonesian government has claimed it a arena of its country aback 1963.
According to a account accustomed by Wenda, “BP is operating in the average of a genocide. Aback 1963, hundreds of bags of West Papuans accept been dead by the Indonesian occupation, either anon by government armament or through the accident of their homes, their acreage and their livelihoods. The money that BP pays to the Indonesian government helps them to buy weapons and armament that are acclimated to harass, alarm and annihilate my people.”
The account was displayed abutting to the “morning star” flag, acclimated by West Papuan ability supporters but which is banned by Indonesia.
Dale Grimshaw, the painter of the portrait, had submitted his painting of Benny Wenda to the antagonism as a anatomy of protest, but it was not selected. He explained his accommodation to beef the exhibition in an ad-lib allocution to gallery-goers. He said: “[BP] apperceive actual able-bodied what’s activity on in the land, they appoint politically and financially speaking with the Indonesian aggressive … could you imagine, on a account basis, bodies you apperceive actuality confined and bent for peaceful protest?”
He additionally said in a statement: “BP gets to adhesive its logo all over the arcade and present this apocryphal adaptation of itself to the world. Art can be a way to action aback adjoin that and acquaint the accuracy about what these companies are absolutely doing.”
The action was timed to appear on the aforementioned day as the acquiescence to the UN of a 140,000-strong all-embracing petition calling for a chargeless and fair ability vote for the bodies of West Papua.
After the account was unveiled, the accumulation buried a abbreviate video of Wenda and performed a mini “awards ceremony” presenting prizes for “biggest hypocrite” and “biggest polluter” to the “Director of the National Account Gallery” and a “BP representative” respectively.
The allegation of affectation stems from the National Account Gallery’s Ethical Fundraising Policy, appear via a Freedom of Information appeal fabricated by Culture Unstained, which states affair over accepting funds from anyone “known or doubtable to be carefully associated with a administration accepted or doubtable to be in abuse of animal rights.”
The National Account Arcade does not about accompaniment how abundant money it receives from BP, but it is a allotment of the £7.5 actor five-year deal between the National Account Arcade and three added British cultural institutions. BP or not BP? point out that a division of this bulk would be beneath than 2% of the gallery’s anniversary income.
Hyperallergic accomplished out to the National Account Arcade for animadversion but as of this autograph has accustomed no response.
BP’s accord with Indonesia as able-bodied as added backbreaking governments are currently the accountable of a academic complaint to the National Account Arcade by the attack accumulation Culture Unstained, who, forth with BP or not BP?, are allotment of the Art Not Oil Coalition.
The BP or not BP? beef took abode at the National Account Arcade (St. Martin’s Pl, London) on Thursday, August 31.
Correction: A antecedent adaptation of this commodity declared BP or not BP? had requested a Freedom of Information appeal from the National Gallery’s Ethical Fundraising Policy. This is incorrect; Culture Unstained had fabricated the request. This has been fixed.
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