These objects only present a snapshot of BP’s many forms of injustice and exploitation. Many other groups around the world are threatened by BP’s actions, and are on the front lines of resistance to their destructive practices. These activists, trade unionists and communities are present in other aspects of our work, and in the conversations we hope to inspire through this exhibition.
This arpillera reflects the Zapatista struggle in Mexico as an icon of community-based resistance and struggle. It denounces the more than 150,000 deaths and more than 26,000 disappearances that have occurred in the country during the so-called “War on Drugs”, particularly remembering the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa.
For decades, multinational construction firms compiled an illegal blacklist of trade unionists, journalists and campaigners. These workers suffered years of unemployment simply for trying to raise safety standards in an industry with one of the highest fatality rates in the UK.
The Lamassu was adopted as an emblem by the British Army in Iraq in the 1940s, and by American military forces following the invasion of 2003. Months ahead of this invasion, BP were in talks with the UK government about accessing the country’s oil reserves.
West Papua has been under illegal Indonesian occupation since 1969. West Papuans are jailed for 15 years just for raising this flag. BP is operating right in the middle of this secret genocide, making millions of dollars for the Indonesian government while West Papuans are evicted from their ancestral homeland.
This lamp was rescued from landfill in Calder Valley during the extensive flooding of Boxing Day 2015. Local residents worked through electricity blackouts to load the ruined debris of their homes and businesses into a truck, fearful that further flooding could wash it all downstream.
Gilberto Torres was kidnapped after staging a protest in response to the disappearance of Aury Sará Marrugo. “In the year 2002 I was kidnapped and held for 42 days by paramilitary groups, backed by the Colombian state and by multinational oil companies, including, among others, BP.”
Petcoke is a fuel used in manufacturing and burns much dirtier than coal, producing 10% more carbon dioxide. These pictures speak of disrespect and disregard for the local community which has borne the petcoke piles, with its dust blown into their homes, yards, and lungs - and also of BP's intention to demolish Marktown.
In May 2015, the PCS Union Culture Sector passed a motion officially condemning oil company sponsorship of cultural institutions. The motion was proposed by staff from National Museums Liverpool and passed overwhelmingly. This sunflower was used in the 2014-15 anti-privatisation campaign by workers at the National Gallery, which included 111 days of strike action.
BP is currently the largest foreign investor in Egypt, extracting oil and gas from beneath the Red Sea, Mediterranean and Nile Delta. This tear gas cartridge was retrieved when police fired it at protests in Cairo in 2011. Tear gas was one of many weapons used to control, contain and repress the protesters, causing severe eye and respiratory injuries. Over 40 Egyptians were killed due to tear gas inhalation during the uprisings.
BP plans to drill four new ultra-deepwater wells in an area off the south coast of Australia known as the Great Australian Bight. This inquiry comes after the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority rejected BP's plans to drill four exploratory wells last year. BP has vowed to reapply.
BP sold their Colombian operations to Ecopetrol, the company exploiting the land in the area of the Amazon where the Cofan people live. The Waira is the tool of the shaman to heal and to make music. The Cofan people are just one of countless Indigenous communities around the world threatened by multinational corporations like BP. They are on the frontlines of global resistance.