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Art collective Liberate Tate uses Arctic ice to protest at gallery's BP sponsorship


An art collective protesting against the Tate Modern's partnership with oil giant BP used a block of Arctic ice to express their grievances this weekend.

On Saturday evening, black-veiled members of Liberate Tate carried a 55kg chunk of arctic ice on a sledge from the Occupy London camp at St Paul's Cathedral to the Tate Modern Turbine Hall in an attempt to high what they called "Tate’s complicity in BP’s controversial oil extraction practices around the world."

The block of ice, called 'Floe Piece' (an expression used to describe a sheet of ice shorter than a furlong in length), had been donated to the Occupy London protest by an Arctic researcher who had brought it back to the UK, and was marched across the Thames on the Millennium Bridge before it reached the gallery.

Terri Gosnell of Liberate Tate, who carried one corner of the sledge, said: "Arctic ice is melting at record rates as a result of climate change. The irony is that the same oil companies like BP that carry a lot of responsibility for climate change, are using the melting ice as an opportunity to drill for more oil in previously inaccessible areas."

The Tate's partnership with BP has come under fire since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate said: "The fact that BP had one major incident in 2010 does not mean we should not be taking support from them."

To see a video of the 'Floe Piece' performance click here