National Portrait Gallery in London was written an open letter recently by several artists which included the likes of Anish Kapoor, Sarah Lucas, Allen Jones, Rachel Whiteread and others who demand that the Gallery should cut its ties with oil behemoth BP which also sponsors the BP Portrait Award for the Gallery. The artists demand that the museum should stop accepting funding from BP immediately. This letter was addressed to the director of National Portrait Gallery, Nicholas Cullinan.
Also known is that a total of 78 British artists have addressed this open letter to the Museum based in London. This letter has been written by Gary hume who has also served as a judge at the Portrait Award this year and he highlightes how BP has contributed to the current climate crisis. The letter reads that “the company is choosing to invest 97% of its available capital in fossil fuel exploitation and a mere 3% in renewables.”
The letter also goes on to say that “A crucial role of art is to describe to future generations what it is to be alive now, and to provide an echo of our humanity to those who seek it in the future, The ethical red lines regarding art sponsorship are always shifting, tracing the curve of corporate behaviour and what’s regarded as the public good.”
Although it is worth noting that the museum’s contract with BP expires in 2022, the signatories of this open letter request the museum to not renew the contract. Also, they request immediate removal of the BP representative from judging panel of Portrait Award and also seek alternative funding for the award.
This comes after a group of protestors staged a “die-in” protest which was in front of London’s Royal Opera House. The protestors are against BP’s sponsorship of several programs at performing arts venue.