Museum officials say the relationship with the oil company runs counter to a “responsibility to do all we can to address the climate emergency”
National Galleries of Scotland has declared that it will no longer host the exhibition of the BP Portrait Award, saying that the edition of this year will be “the last time” that it stages the show in its current form. “We’re announcing today that we’re ending our arrangement with the BP Portrait Award,” gallery officials tweeted.
This year’s BP Portrait Award show, now in its tenth year, is due to launch on 7 December at Edinburgh’s Scottish National Portrait Gallery; the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in London is organizing the exhibition.
Gallery officials add in an online statement: “At the National Galleries of Scotland we recognise that we have a responsibility to do all we can to address the climate emergency. For many people, the association of this competition with BP is seen as being at odds with that aim.”
Many artists called on the NPG to withdraw the funding of the award by the oil company in June. In a letter to the director of the gallery, Nicholas Cullinan, artist Gary Hume expressed “discomfort about continuing to have BP as the sponsor of the award”.
The National Portrait Gallery, London, said in reaction to the decision taken by Scotland’s National Galleries: “We respect the National Galleries of Scotland’s decision and we are grateful for all the support they’ve given to the award over the years. We also very much look forward to continuing to partner with them in the future, and especially over the next three years as we share our Collection widely around the UK during the building works for Inspiring People in a nationwide series of innovative collaborations. We are currently considering alternatives for our annual competitions when the London building is temporarily closed from 29 June 2020 to spring 2023.”
The announcement from Scotland’s National Gallery adds: “We are grateful to the National Portrait Gallery in London and to BP for the opportunity that the competition and exhibition has provided to inspire young talent and to promote portrait artists from around the world.”
While, an analyst on Twitter says: “A brave decision and not an easy one to make … maybe it could sponsor the friends and patrons?”


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