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Guests at BP Portrait Award forced to climb over wall to enter, thanks to artistic blockade (10.6.19)

A specially-painted portrait of Cherri Foytlin, Indigenous journalist, advocate and mother of six, who lives on the Gulf Coast in South Louisiana. She has been a tireless campaigner for justice for all those affected by BP’s catastrophic Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010. The quote is part of a longer message she sent us in 2016, calling on UK arts institutions to stop promoting BP. Portrait by Zora Owen, photo by Diana More.

Last night, BP or not BP? delayed the announcement of the award’s winner after temporarily blocking all three entrances to the Gallery. This resulted in security guards helping guests climb over a wall using two footstools. Both Peter Mather and Des Violaris from BP were there…and did not look happy. You can read the BP or not BP? write-up here:

or Hyperallergic have done a great article here:
Anti-Oil Activists Block Entrance of National Portrait Gallery to Protest BP Sponsorship

The main reviews of the BP Portrait Award describe it as having been overshadowed by the controversy. The Times is particularly good, opening with: 'It’s not the pictures that people are talking about. It’s the sponsor. For three decades, the name of the world’s biggest fossil fuel producer has branded the BP Portrait Award. As a result, protest has become as much a feature of the annual awards ceremony as the announcement of a winner.'
London Mexico Solidarity: Samir Flores & CECOP at the BP Portrait Award, London -