One of the premier art institutions in London, Victoria & Albert, faced strong protests on Saturday from the P.A.I.N. group. The protests were against the funding the museum has been receiving over the years from the infamous Sackler group. Indeed, the director of the museum Tristram Hunt had said in July that the museum was proud to receive funds from the group.
The Sackler P.A.I.N. group was created in 2018 by Nan Goldin and other artists/activists to protest against the Sackler group. In a short time, the group has become a strong voice in the art field and has already demonstrated at multiple prominent art institutions. They have had their impact too; the likes of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum and Tate Museum have stopped taking funds from the Sackler group. Their latest target was V&A in London.
Sackler group is often accused by activists of ‘toxic philanthropy’. Most notably, the group owns Purdue Pharma, the company that produces the painkiller OxyContin. The drug has since been recognized as addictive. The pharma company was accused of continuing to produce the drug despite knowing this. While many activists have accused them of playing a part in the ‘opioid crisis’ in the USA, both Sackler and Purdue denied any responsibility for it.
Standing outside the Victoria & Albert Museum on Saturday, the group brought along a giant sign that read ‘Abandon the Sackler Name’. A die-in was also demonstrated, which included fake currencies smeared with ‘blood’. Another demand of the group was that the areas named after Sackler group must be renamed. It must be noted that V&A currently have a courtyard and education centre named after the group.