GREEN campaigners launched a protest at the weekend at the British Museum against “diabolical” BP’s sponsorship of an exhibition.
More than 50 people dressed in black with their hands painted gold staged their protest, accusing the museum of covering up BP’s role in environmental disasters across the world.
US activist “the Reverend” Billy Talen joined anti-capitalist group Stop Shopping Choir as well as members of the “actor-vist” theatre collective BP or Not BP. The protesters accused BP of hypocrisy by supporting the museum’s showpiece exhibition Scythians: Warriors of Ancient Siberia when the firm endangers the very culture and archaeology it claims to support by contributing to global warming.
They claimed global warming was causing the melting of the Siberian permafrost, and that archaeologists have warned of “a race against time” to save the preserved Scythian culture before permanent damage is done. “The Reverend” performed a sermon in the museum while performers wrapped in black bin bags mimicked sculptures and statues with their bodies.
He asked: “What do you call this? “The fossil fuel companies and their speculators destroy our access to history while sponsoring its prestigious exhibition, and while directly endangering our future.
“It’s beyond ironical: It’s diabolical. BP is the devil.”
The performers then used the black bags to represent a sea of black oil flowing out of the museum entrance as the choir sang in protest.
BP or Not BP theatre troupe activist Olivia Anthony said the performance protest was staged to expose the impact of BP’s actions around the world from its contribution to global warming melting the Siberian permafrost to oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico.
“These toxic injustices should not be ignored but in accepting a sponsorship deal with BP, the British Museum has done exactly that and is helping to cover them up,” she said.
Saturday’s protest was the latest action in an ongoing campaign against oil firms sponsoring the arts.
The British Museum had not responded to the Star’s request for comment at time of going to press.