ezra miller joins climate change protestors at british museum

The Art Not Oil coalition were protesting BP's sponsorship of the museum.

by Sarah Hay
Sep 14 2015, 3:16pm

On Sunday, September 13, 15 different groups formed the Art Not Oil coalition to stage impromptu protests inside the British Museum, including a performance piece by Liberate Tate who were joined by the actor Ezra Miller.

Miller -- who's confirmed to play the role of Flash in forthcoming DC comics movies -- once completed a marathon ski trip to the Arctic in extreme icy conditions with 15 other activists to highlight the need to protect the north pole from global warming and fossil fuel extraction. He joined Liberate Tate who kicked off the 'protest festival' at 10:30am with a choreographed reading of climate risk science. All wearing black and standing in formation they read sections of the 'fifth assessment report' by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in protest at BP's sponsorship deal with the British Museum.

From there on, a huge range of different types of performances popped up all over the museum -- from actors comically spoofing BP's sponsorship of the Royal Shakespeare festival, tweens doing a mini dance routine to highlight climate change, and a trio called Perros Romanticos who sang for the Gulf Coast communities affected by the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

All 15 groups holding their banners plus a flash mob of hundreds convened in the great hall to greet an activist daubed in oil who descended the grand stairs playing bagpipes in what felt like a very moving funeral song for Big Oil. From here the flash mob, all wearing black, began a singing procession around the hall which ended in everyone sitting in formation and opening black umbrellas to spell out a giant 'no'.

Liberate Tate argue that BP's sponsorship of the Tate is tiny (less than 1% of its entire income) in comparison to the social license that the oil company gains in return. The deal adds up to £224,000 a year on average between 1990 and 2006. Earlier that day Liberate Tate had also staged at intervention at the Tate, and say they will continue to stage protests at all the big galleries that take money from BP through the rest of the year. 

"Last week Tate installed solar panels on the roof of Tate Modern," said Yasmin De Silva who took part in the flash mob protest. "If the art museum recognizes the need to promote clean, renewable energy, it must also realize how incongruous it is to be so embedded with one of the dirtiest and most controversial oil companies in the world through its sponsorship relationship with BP."

The day ended with around 350 protestors, many who had come across the Art Not Oil public invitation to the flash mob through Facebook, singing and cheering on the steps of the British Museum before a huge banner that read 'no new BP deal'. The sponsorship deal is up for renewal in 2016.