Feb 28, 2018

The National Gallery of Victoria has terminated its relationship with Wilson Security following criticism of the security contractor.

Wilson Security has come under fire for allegations that its employees repeatedly breached ethical standards at several Australian offshore detention facilities where the firm operates, including those located on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. The Guardian reports that following public reports that guards subjected asylum seekers and detainees to sexual, physical, and mental violence, a group of artists formed The Artists’ Committee to protest the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)’s employment of Wilson Security. The Artists’ Committee’s actions have ranged from placing a veil branded with Wilson’s logo over Pablo Picasso’s Weeping Woman (1937), which is held at the museum, to dyeing the gallery’s moat and “water wall” blood red. Last August, 1,500 people from the arts community signed an open letter calling for the gallery to cease its contract with Wilson Security. On Wednesday, the NGV released a statement with no mention of the protests or petition. However, it stated that Wilson Security was “the NGV’s interim security service provider while we were in a Victorian government procurement process to secure a long-term security services provider,” and that “we have commenced the short transition to our new provider.” The NGV’s new contractor has not been publicly announced.