"Rousing stuff"  ★★★★

Just Do It lifts the lid on climate activism and the daring troublemakers who have crossed the line to become modern-day outlaws. Documented over a year, Emily James' film follows these activists as they blockade factories, attack coal power stations and glue themselves to the trading floors of international banks despite the very real threat of arrest.

"A smart, funny, adrenalised portrait of 21st century activism" Danny Leigh - The Guardian

Oil Spill at the British Museum

This morning three members of the art activist group Culture Beyond Oil poured non-toxic black oil around the British Museum’s world famous Easter Island sculpture, in protest at BP’s sponsorship of the museum.

Emily James, Director of Just Do It, happened to be there and captured the action.

Following similar actions at the Tate Modern, Tate Britain and National Portrait Gallery in recent weeks, the activists targeted the British Museum because of the annual sponsorship it receives from the infamous oil company. Check out Art Not Oil for similar oily complaints.

A recent report called ‘Licence to Spill’ from the campaign group Platform has pointed to the benefits of cultural sponsorship for oil companies, stating that “the financial support that the companies [like Shell and BP] provide [to cultural institutions] strengthens their position as a part of Britain’s cultural and social elite, and creates a perception of making a positive contribution to our society”, thus giving them a “social license to operate”.

The statue around which the oil was poured* is known as Hoa Hakananai’a, a 2000 year old relic taken from Easter Island by European explorers. The story of the Easter Island statues is often cited as an example of the speed with which once strong civilizations have suddenly collapsed.

Ben Cooper, who is also part of Liberate Tate, said: “Oil sponsorship of public institutions is a problem that stretches way beyond BP and the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil industry has a long history of environmental and human rights abuses, and is currently pulling us closer and closer to a potential catastrophe on a global scale.”

“Just like the forests on Easter Island, oil represents a resource being over-exploited despite massively increasing risks. With our relentless search for oil we are risking the collapse of the ecosystems on which we depend – just as the inhabitants of Easter Island did 2000 years ago”.

*NB: The activists were careful not to pour oil on the sculpture itself, which is seated on a modern stone plinth.

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16 Responses to “Oil Spill at the British Museum”

  1. jasper Richardson 13. Jul, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

    Good work. BP are bad company

  2. Luis 15. Jul, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    Stupid selfish people going to the wrong place doing the wrong thing.

    Should use time to do useful things for humankind – why not at BP’s headquarters? Why not take their time to do some charity? Waste money with fake oil and bp printed logos? It’s easier isn’t it? If that’s change the world, our world is definitely lost.

    Do you think anyone cares about what these women do? Yes, the cleaner who stayed over to clean these spoiled girls who could only think of showing off on internet… sad lives

  3. Peas 15. Jul, 2010 at 9:12 pm #

    I think its important that activists make their point in many different ways. Targeting HQs of multinational companies is not the only way of going about a campaign. And if someone puts in the time and energy to creating a new a public facing strategy, do you think they wont have thought about or tried going down a direct HQ route? Its important to not just aim campaigns at the companies themselves as they can ignore you, no matter how much noise you make. But if you make an impact in the public sphere and can raise the public profile of a campagne as well as making a point to a company then you have extra power in your message.

    Keep up the campaign guys. Im behind you all the way.

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  1. Tweets that mention Oil Spill at the British Museum | Just Do It -- Topsy.com - 13. Jul, 2010

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by vacuumcleaner. vacuumcleaner said: RT @JustDoItFilm: #BP oil spill @britishmuseum this morning – Full Story and Video – http://bit.ly/bvII05 – @liberatetate [...]

  2. Culture Not Oil targets the British Museum » Camp for Climate Action - 14. Jul, 2010

    [...] Writing on the Just Do It blog, Emily points out that today’s action is just one in a growing list of actions targeting cultural institutions including Tate Modern, Tate Britain and the National Portrait Gallery for their involvement with the filthy oil industry. [...]

  3. When will our cultural institutions disassociate from big oil? | Liberal Conspiracy - 14. Jul, 2010

    [...] the story by visiting the British Museum, which also takes BP money, during visiting hours and elegantly spilling ‘oil’ from hand-crafted BP eggs in front of (but not touching) a key exhibit. All three [...]

  4. The Weekly Round-Up: Monday 19th July » Camp for Climate Action - 19. Jul, 2010

    [...] a powerful way of telling stories as is drama. So it was nice to see the Culture Not Oil action against BP happen last week that we blogged about [...]

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