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Iraq, BP and the British Museum – look upon these works and hang our heads in shame

I had read in advance the briefing that Culture Unstained had put out to accompany the planned action. The protest at the British Museum was to be against BP’s sponsorship of the exhibition ‘I am Ashurbanipal: king of the world, king of Assyria’, a display of treasures from the land of Iraq. I read lines...

#FromNopeToHope – Salon des Réfuseurs for our time

Heads up everybody interested in powerful political art and graphics. The exhibition From Nope To Hope – Art vs Arms, Oil and Injustice is running for an extra week, in Brixton Rec, London. Come and get inspired by the artwork of political artists, designers and activists who demanded their works were withdrawn from the Design...

Aliyev re-elected as President for another 7 years – the chain of oil autocracy that binds Azerbaijan

On 18th April Ilham Aliyev will be inaugurated for the fourth time as President of Azerbaijan. His re-election comes as no surprise. It is so predictable that it barely counted as ‘news’ and consequently got next to no coverage in the international media. Originally the election was scheduled for 17th October, but at nine weeks...

The slow dismantling the house of oil – The Gulbenkian Foundation divests

Quite unexpected comes remarkable news! Lucy Neal, a long-term part of the Platform family, e-mails out of the blue, forwarding an article from the Algarve Daily News, published on 1st February in southern Portugal. The headline reads: ‘Gulbenkian Foundation gets out of the oil business’ That truly is unexpected. Lucy had not foreseen this coming...

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...

BP funds homophobia: an open letter

BP has built a reputation for itself as a LGBTQ-friendly employer, with Pride floats, a Stonewall top employer badge, and recruitment events for LGBTQ students. But BP’s donations and deals also keep in office notoriously homophobic politicians, from US Congressman John Culberson to Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. We started this open letter to call on...

Fight BP’s Pinkwashing

A briefing for LGBTQ rights campaigners by No Pride In BP, Platform and People & Planet Download briefing as pdf Pinkwashing: (n.) a public relations tactic, involving an appeal to LGBT-friendliness, in order to offset or ‘wash’ over other questionable practices Is BP a queer-friendly company? “proud to be a business where you can be yourself”...

Egyptian political prisoners remembered in unsanctioned performance at British Museum’s ‘Sunken Cities’

24 November 2016 Unsanctioned vigil held for jailed human rights campaigners at ‘Curator’s Introduction to the BP Sponsored Exhibition Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds’   Exhibition displays objects from ancient sunken cities in the Nile Delta, where BP is now drilling for fossil fuels. Community opposition successfully halted BP’s gas plant plans – the North...

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

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

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

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...