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Activists target BP at gallery

Climate activists have targeted the BP Portrait Award ceremony in protest against sponsorship from the oil giant.

Demonstrators claimed BP was using the arts in an attempt to divert attention away from its impact on the environment.

But the National Portrait Gallery said the support of the global company was beneficial to artists.

The protesters displayed a collection of portraits outside the gallery, near London's Trafalgar Square, which showed the impact of last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

One of the pictures, entitled First Splash Since Spill, pictured a child playing in oil-covered water in Louisiana after being told it was safe.

The artist, Beverly Curole, said: "I captured Max, my grandson, on the first day the beach was opened and supposedly safe.

"Max was so excited he jumped in the water and made a huge splash. I then noticed flecks of oil at the tide line and knew something was wrong.

"Like Max, we all want it to be okay but it's not."

Some 14 portraits from the US Gulf Coast were submitted for the award by campaign group Facing the Gulf.

Despite none of them being selected by the judges, organiser Nancy Boulicault hoped they would force the gallery to look again at its link with BP.

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