Pressure mounts on the British Museum to sever its BP ties

The director of the ‘Queens of Syria’ play, a film of which is currently being exhibited in the British Museum as part of the ‘Troy exhibition’, and a Syrian refugee who performed in it, have written an open letter to the British Museum.

The letter called on the museum to sever its ties with oil giant BP. In it they wrote:

“BP has directly profited from the widespread destruction and displacement of people, like the thirteen women who formed the cast for our play, and yet you have reached the conclusion that its logo should brand an exhibition highlighting exactly the issues BP contributes to causing…

“You place artists such as ourselves in an impossible position, where we must decide whether it is worse to try and remove our work from the exhibition - taking away the chance that this show can shine a light on the harsh realities that our team are living under - or to allow our work to help art wash the impacts and crimes of BP, a multinational oil and gas company that has wreaked havoc on this planet and its people.”

image: bp or not bp blog troy exhibition london museum

This letter adds to mounting pressure on the British Museum to follow in the footsteps of the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Galleries Scotland, who recently announced they would end their partnerships with BP.

Furthermore, in November, activists from ‘BP or not BP’ transformed themselves into Troy-inspired ‘living statues’ and covered themselves in oil to blockade the VIP launch of the ‘Troy’ exhibition.

This forced organisers of the event to relocate the exhibition.

The activists invented a god, Petroleus (pictured here), who wore an oil slick for a robe.

For more information about the campaign to end fossil fuel sponsorship of culture see the Culture Unstained website.

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