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BP’s continued sponsorship of the Portrait Award is lending credence to the company’s misleading assurance that it’s doing all it can [to support renewable energy], and so we, as artists, feel we must speak up.
A crucial role of art is to describe to future generations what it is to be alive now, and to provide an echo of our humanity to those who seek it in the future. The ethical red lines regarding art sponsorship are always shifting, tracing the curve of corporate behaviour and what’s regarded as the public good. This was clearly demonstrated when the NPG moved away from its partnership with tobacco company John Player thirty years ago, and the Sackler family earlier this year.