Last weeked, a climate activist group known as BP or not BP?, took over the British Museum and carried out what organizers tout as the “largest protest in the history of the institution.” The activists held a 3-day, all-night protest against the sponsorship of oil and gas firm British Petroleum (BP) in the London museum.
The mass action included a 51-hour occupation, where several galleries became venues for campaign speeches and theatrical processions; calling on the management of the British Museum to cut sponsorship ties with BP. The ArtNet Newspaper described the mood throughout the protest as nearly celebratory; with protesters singing and breaking out with spontaneous chants of “BP must fall!” while making their way through the British Museum’s public spaces and galleries.
At closing time, about 40 activists stayed behind to spend the night in the museum’s Great Court. When they exited in the morning of the following day, they left behind a sculpture made from casts of their body parts, entitled as “Monument.” The sculpture is said to symbolize the growing movements against fossil fuel companies like British Petroleum and their climate-crashing business activities.
British Museum Excludes BP as Sponsor to Forthcoming Arctic Exhibition
In a forthcoming arctic exhibition entitled “Arctic: Culture and Climate,” the British Museum exempted British Petroleum from sponsoring the event. After all, the exhibition that is slated to open on May 28 to August 23, 2020, will showcase tools, garments and works of art in relation to the Arctic people’s deep association with the icy environment of their homelands. The exhibit also includes contemporary artistic commissions and photographs of some ancient objects that have been unraveled by the rapidly melting permafrost.
Aside from drawing from the British Museum’s large world-class collection of Arctic artefacts, the upcoming exhibit will also feature personal testimonies of Arctic inhabitants such as community leaders of the Inupiat Eskimo village of Shishmaref, Alaska. They will be highlighting their ongoing efforts to mitigate flooding and coastal erosion, which are among the critical impacts of climate change in the Arctic regions.
The British Petroleum company on the other hand has been lobbying to extend its oil drilling license in the Alaskan region, a business plan that directly contradicts global movements working toward addressing the worsening effects of climate change.