Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Tell the Scottish National Portrait Gallery to drop BP!

Tell the Scottish National Portrait Gallery to drop BP!

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BP has just announced it will be sponsoring the popular Portrait Awards - hosted at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery - for another five years.

It’s part of a package of renewed sponsorship deals in which the oil giant keeps its grip on some of our best loved cultural institutions. With a BP sponsorship deal, it doesn’t just hand over some money and let the gallery or museum get on with it. Instead it works to exert its influence -- on everything from what will be included in exhibitions to how the institution manages internal security.

And, in return for the cash, it gets cheap advertising, a veneer of legitimacy and opportunities to further its own business plans -- plans that include trashing our climate, collaborating with violent regimes, destroying indigenous lands and blocking desperately needed climate policies.

But there’s some good news. The National Portrait Awards exhibition is not due to arrive in Edinburgh until November, so we still have a chance to stop it in its tracks. If enough of us speak out, we can persuade the Scottish National Portrait Gallery to cut its ties with BP.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery: don’t promote BP and lend it legitimacy. Don’t host the BP Portrait Awards!

Over the past few years, huge public pressure has been mounting on cultural institutions to sever their links with the oil industry. And it’s working. One by one, important cultural institutions are turning their backs on Big Oil.

Now it’s time to ramp up that pressure. BP is trying to get its claws into the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Opera House and the Royal Shakespeare Company with sponsorship deals that will last for five years. If it succeeds, it will be buying itself a ‘social license’ to carry on with its devastating business practices with some degree of social acceptability.

But if we can get the Scottish National Portrait Gallery to refuse to host a BP-sponsored exhibition, it will send a strong signal to help bring about the end of Big Oil’s sponsorship of our culture.

And the odds are on our side. Earlier this year, after massive public pressure, the Edinburgh International Festival and Tate both severed their ties with BP. Now let’s tell the Scottish National Portrait Gallery to stand on the right side of history and do the same.

Let’s tell the Scottish National Portrait Gallery not to host the Portrait Awards unless an ethical sponsor is found!

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