American folk/eco-duo Sassafras performed 'Art Not Oil', which was written for the occasion, and other songs urging the NPG to free itself from BP's oily grasp. We handed out a thousand flyers which were well received by passersby and many guests, including one of the artists who had been short-listed for the prize, who said that he felt tainted by BP's sponsorship.
We invited Sandy Nairne, the NPG director, to take some time out from the evening's festivities to attend the Living Exhibition outside - also unsurpringly, he never showed. Clearly, he's not ready to face the fact that under his leadership the NPG is providing cover for BP's appalling safety record and continuing assault on the environment and people all over the world.
Next up: A new play, We Will Make You Whole, which dramatizes the plight of Gulf Coast residents and which will feature the Facing the Gulf project portraits as part of the production - on at Acquire Arts, Battersea from August 6th, 2011. We're preparing Sandy's invitation now - will he show up next time?
Check out the great press coverage of the action, including:
the Guardian - http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jun/15/activists-bp-portrait-award
the Evening Standard - http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23960733-activists-target-bp-at-gallery.do
BBC News online - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-13770208