Saturday, 16 April 2011


Dear Mr Serota,

I am writing to add my voice to calls from across the UK for respected institutions such as yours to take a stand against the unethical practices of BP, by ending your sponsorship agreements with the company.

This week marks the one year anniversary of BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which caused the deaths of 11 workers, triggered America’s largest ever environmental disaster and sparked controversy about the role of one of the UK’s most iconic companies.

Since April 2010, BP has been on a PR offensive to reclaim its image - not least through its relationship with galleries such as Tate - and to reassure us all that it has learned its lesson and moved on.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Last December, BP made the hugely controversial decision to start extracting high-polluting oil from the Canadian tar sands. It is pressing ahead with drilling in the fragile Arctic, and deep-sea drilling in Russia. And, like every other year, BP is destroying the lives and livelihoods of frontline communities around the world.

By forging and maintaining links with a corporation such as BP, Tate is dirtying its own name with its implicit consent to such actions. Every pound of dirty oil money accepted by Tate helps legitimise a long legacy of environmental destruction and human rights abuses. You are helping BP to buy public acceptance at a time when we need to have our eyes wide open to climate change and other problems the company is causing.

Out of respect for your excellent work in offering access to the arts, and bearing in mind your support for critical and challenging approaches, I am asking you keep dirty oil out of our cultural heritage.

Yours sincerely Violet Maze

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