Musicians react to oil sponsorship of the arts

1 Oct 2013 admin

LS Lowry's 125th birthday … a 1953 painting entitled Going to the Match

Recently the call to challenge oil and associated industries’ sponsorship of the arts has been made by high profile musicians from around the world.

On 8th September Boff Whalley, Chumbawumba front-man, described how he left Tate Britain part way through his special visit to the Lowry exhibition out of disgust at the number of BP logos in the gallery:

“BP, BP, BP. All very subtle and low-key, but…it becomes downright infuriating.  The naïve and simple beauty of Lowry’s paintings, the wearied crowds on their way to work or to the football match, the landscapes teeming with chimneys, the big pale northern skies greyed by factory smoke, none of it needs or demands the attachment of that little green and yellow flower that yells ‘Oil’.”

Having been awarded the prestigious Canadian Polaris music prize on 24th September, God Speed You! Black Emperor made this statement in reaction to the presence of sponsor Toyota at the event:

“asking the toyota motor company to help cover the tab for that gala, during a summer where the melting northern ice caps are live-streaming on the internet, IS FUCKING INSANE, and comes across as tone-deaf to the current horrifying malaise.

these are hard times for everybody. and musicians’ blues are pretty low on the list of things in need of urgent correction BUT AND BUT if the point of this prize and party is acknowledging music-labor performed in the name of something other than quick money, well then maybe the next celebration should happen in a cruddier hall, without the corporate banners and culture overlords.”

These recent critiques followed concerns raised by academic staff at the Dublin Institute of Technology in June after money from the Shell Corrib Community Gain Investment Fund, the payout made by Shell in sly an attempt to counter the decade long campaign against Shell’s gas pipeline in County Mayo. A source said that:

“The issue of the funding of the programme has been discussed internally in the DIT at a meeting two weeks ago and concern was raised about the gas fund and Shell’s involvement by the very staff timetabled to deliver the course.”

The reaction to oil sponsorship is international and continues to grow. Shout out with any more cases of criticism of oil sponsorship in the comments below!

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