Almost 40 members of the “Libérons le Louvre” collective gathered inside the Louvre museum to stage a performance mixing art and activism to denounces the ties between the Louvre and the fossil fuel industry.
On the morning of Sunday, the 5 March, almost 40 members of the “Libérons le Louvre” collective have participated in a performance inside the Louvre museum, to protest against its connection to Total.
Dressed in black, they assembled at the bottom of the Winged Victory of Samothrace, one of the most iconic statues in the museum, where they staged a symbolic oil spill. Shortly before 10am, the group took off black scarves, jackets and shirts and laid them on the stairway which connects the statue with some of the galleries of which Total is a sponsor.
“The Louvre is already a victim of climate change. It already had to organise an elaborate action plan to protect its collection from flooding – a situation that will be more frequent and dramatic if we don’t stop global warming,” said Nicolas Haeringer, 350.org campaigner in France. “Yet, the Louvre lets Total and other fossil fuel companies that have the most responsibility for causing climate change benefit from the respectable image of the museum.”
The performance was organised after 350.org launched an international call signed by almost 10,000 people, demanding that the Louvre cuts its ties with the fossil fuel industry. The director of the Louvre has refused to acknowledge the demand so far. The campaign collective has thus decided to take the next steps of the campaign and organise performances that mix arts and activism to push the Louvre to change its sponsorship policy.
“The partnership between Louvre and Total is incompatible with the commitments made in Paris during COP21,” explained Clémence Dubois, 350.org campaigner in France. “Keeping global warming well below 2°C means that we have to freeze new fossil fuel developments, and start phasing out fossil fuels altogether. But companies like Total are doing the exact opposite. They try to dig and drill ever deeper. The fossil fuel industry is a threat to humanity and our common future – as such, it shouldn’t be allowed to enter a museum which hosts pieces that have survived as many as three millennia,” Dubois continued.
Campaigns to get cultural institutions to drop their partnerships with fossil fuel corporations have enjoyed a boost over the last months, after BP was forced to stop its sponsorship deal with the Tate Gallery in the UK, following a campaign led by groups of artists and activists since 2010.
“The Louvre should understand that Total benefits much more from the partnership than the Louvre. The partnership enables Total to present itself as a responsible company by providing the Louvre with a bit of money. Total relies on this image to continue carrying out its reckless business plan,” said Haeringer. “The museum’s ethics charter prohibits donations from the tobacco and alcohol industry. This ban needs to be extended to the fossil fuel industry since their business model is incompatible with a livable planet.”
Nicolas Haeringer – firstname.lastname@example.org – +33650861259
Clémence Dubois – email@example.com – +33642713175
Photos : Free to use with attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/350org/albums/72157677677798363
Additional photos available upon request: http://hanslucas.com/dmeyer/photo/10406
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qt956R5cw2A (HD file available)
Campaign website: http://zerofossile.org/louvremuseum