- Written by Social Reporter Social Reporter
- Published: 11 November 2019 11 November 2019
Protests by Edinburgh-based ‘BP or not BP? Scotland’ group in previous years have finally borne fruit as oil giant is booted
- National Galleries Scotland announces end of BP relationship, to ‘address the climate emergency’
- After 2019, the BP Portrait Award will no longer tour to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery ‘in its present form’
- Today's news follows end of oil company partnerships at Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre last month
- This move puts pressure on other oil-funded arts institutions, such as London’s National Portrait Gallery, which is currently ‘considering options’ for the future of the award
Major protest planned in February 2020 against BP-sponsored Troy exhibition at British Museum
Statement made by National Galleries Scotland:
“The BP Portrait Award 2019 exhibition opens on 7 December at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. At the National Galleries of Scotland we recognise that we have a responsibility to do all we can to address the climate emergency. For many people, the association of this competition with BP is seen as being at odds with that aim.
Therefore, after due consideration, the Trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland have decided that this will be the last time that the galleries will host this exhibition in its present form.”
‘It is extremely significant that yet another major Scottish cultural institution has dropped fossil fuel sponsorship, following the Edinburgh International Festival in 2015 and the Edinburgh Science Festival earlier this year.
‘This is a massive win for campaigners who have taken action against the BP Portrait Award being hosted in Scotland for several years. It sends a clear message that it is no longer socially acceptable to have links with the fossil fuel industry because of their continued role in driving the climate crisis and human rights abuses across the world.
‘We hope that the few remaining institutions that allow themselves to be used as greenwash for the industry join the National Galleries on the right side of history’
According to Roxana Halls, an artist who has exhibited in the BP Portrait Award 5 times and who was one of the artists who joined Gary Hume in calling for an end to the BP branding:
‘This is a brave and difficult decision on the part of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, one which cannot have been easy to take and which I applaud.’
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