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Shell's little wild lies?

The Natural History Museum's decision to accept the giant oil company Shell as a sponsor for the “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” exhibition caused outrage recently, not least from the environmental campaigning group Rising Tide.

The NHM justified its position by claiming that Shell is taking steps to change its ways and address environmental issues.

Truth after lies

When the “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” exhibition came to Wales, it was hosted by Aberystwyth Arts Centre. The Arts Centre then gave critics the chance to respond to Shell's sponsorship, by showing a Rising Tide exhibition entitled “Shell's Wild Lie” immediately after the “Wildlife” show, in the same space.

“Shell's Wild Lie” is part of London Rising Tide's “Art Not Oil” campaign, and features photographs and illustrations that Rising Tide considers a truer snapshot of the disastrous nature of Shell and the fossil fuel industry as a whole.

Big Oil, big money

Reportedly, Shell has a £750,000 contract with the NHM that runs until 2008. Sam Chase of London Rising Tide said, “We have been led to believe that the Museum is unlikely to renew such a controversial contract, but we, the public, need to keep up the pressure on it to steer clear of Shell and Big Oil's tainted cash.”

As well as asking people to make their feelings known to the NHM, Rising Tide is asking them to contact BBC Wildlife magazine, which boasts Jonathon Porritt, George Monbiot, David Attenborough, John Vidal and FOE's Tony Juniper on its Advisory Panel.

“Shell's Wild Lie” will be shown at the Synergy Centre in London after the 8 December Climate March. It is then likely to go to the CREATE centre in Bristol, shadowing the Wildlife exhibition.

"Shell's Wild Lie" is available to borrow. Contact: LRT, c/o 62 Fieldgate St, London E1 1ES; 07708 794665; info@artnotoil.org.uk
View at: http://www.artnotoil.org.uk/gallery/v/Shell/

Eve Ropek is Exhibitions Curator at Aberystwyth Arts Centre