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Today, remembering the Ogoni Bill of Rights

Today, remembering the Ogoni Bill of Rights

10th November 2017 marks the 22nd anniversary since the executions of nine Ogoni men from the Niger Delta who had been protesting against the exploitation of oil in their homelands. These Nigerian activists – outspoken author and playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa, Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John...
The River Resurfaces - reflecting on politically engaged art from the 1970s to today

The River Resurfaces – reflecting on politically engaged art from the 1970s to today

    I’m sitting talking with Caroline Tisdall, a friend who has known Platform since 1986. We first came into contact with her via the producer and curator Richard Demarco: along with him, she was among the first to champion artist Joseph Beuys in the English-speaking world. Beuys’ art and politics were critical influences in...
Conversations with Suzi Gablik  - Living in wartime.

Conversations with Suzi Gablik – Living in wartime.

  I’ve recently returned from a visit to my friend and mentor, Suzi Gablik, in Virginia, USA. She has been an inspiration to so many over the past 33 years since the publication of ‘Has Modernism Failed’, and later her book ‘Conversations Before The End of Time‘. Her work harnessed an ecological sensibility in the...
"Art is direct, it challenges the authorities, the power structure" Ken Saro-Wiwa jr, 1968 - 2016

“Art is direct, it challenges the authorities, the power structure” Ken Saro-Wiwa jr, 1968 – 2016

Yesterday at All Saints Church in Fulham, London, we attended a celebration of the life of journalist, government special advisor, and digital tech innovator Ken Saro-Wiwa jr. His life was suddenly cut short at the age of 47. We are sorrowed by this profound loss to the Saro-Wiwa family, and of a talented man invested in...
For Lucy Fairley, founder of Helix Arts and Crossings

For Lucy Fairley, founder of Helix Arts and Crossings

My friend and Platform ally Lucy Fairley has died, aged 70. We’ve known her and her work for nearly 25 years and worked especially closely with her in the late 1990s. She founded Artists Agency in Sunderland in 1983, and in 1987 appointed Esther Salamon to join her initially as Placement Officer, then as in...
Strip away the carapace – the Ice Age, BP, and the British Museum

Strip away the carapace – the Ice Age, BP, and the British Museum

It pushes me quickly to tears. I’m kneeling on the cold stone floor of the Great Court, legs tucked beneath me, one foot crossed under the other. I’m listening to a rendition of A Requiem to Sinking Cities – an agit-performance in the heart of the British Museum. Silent figures hold up two banners, ‘#DropBP’...
Open letter: BP can't buy our silence

Open letter: BP can’t buy our silence

Today’s Times has published an open letter from Mark Rylance, Naomi Klein, Nnimmo Bassey, Matthew Herbert, and 215 artists, actors, arts managers, musicians, frontline activists, campaigners, and scientists, arguing: We cannot afford another five years of BP-branded culture. Last Thursday BP announced the renewal of its flagship sponsorship programme. Its partners, this time: British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Royal...
Tate loses in court over BP secrets as oil co. renews other cultural sponsorships

Tate loses in court over BP secrets as oil co. renews other cultural sponsorships

Press release: Tate loses in court over BP secrets as oil co. renews other cultural sponsorships  Information Tribunal rules Tate must reveal BP sponsorship fees for 2007-2011 in a legal victory for campaigners. Artists and campaigners promise fresh wave of discontent as British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Royal Opera House, and Royal Shakespeare Company sign...