Arts Workers Join Thousands of Protesters in Climate Strike

In further news: Trump’s wall risks damaging archaeological sites; Khadija Saye’s prints to fund arts education scheme

Hundreds of thousands of young people worldwide join marches while holding placards during the protest, 2019. Courtesy and photograph: Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hundreds of thousands of young people worldwide join marches while holding placards during the protest, 2019. Courtesy and photograph: Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Staff at London’s Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Southbank Centre and National Theatre have joined thousands of protesters in central London today in a strike against climate change. Around 100 members of staff, mostly from the National Theatre, walked out of work, joined by actors and artists, in a bid to raise awareness of the ongoing climate crisis. According to a press release, workers are protesting against ‘cultural organizations [producing] huge amounts of CO2, including through heating, lighting, plastic use and flights’. The strike also hopes to put pressure on institutions to drop their oil sponsorship as many are ‘sponsored by some of the biggest fossil fuel polluters on the planet’. UK playwright Caryl Churchill joined the march and commented: ‘It’s hard to make the effort to break out of our ordinary everyday lives and see how things could be done differently. But we have to do it to avoid catastrophe and to make a world in which our children and grandchildren can still have happy lives.’ Working together under the banner Youth Strike 4 Climate, schoolchildren urged people in all sectors to join a worldwide strike today, with demonstrations taking place in over 100 cities in the UK; numerous organizations have signed up – from Amnesty International and environmental groups to retail companies such as Lush and Patagonia. Read Mel Evans’s opinion piece on why the art world must back Greta Thunberg’s global climate strike.

US President Donald Trump’s plans for a wall along the US-Mexico border will risk damaging important archaeological sites, a report by the National Park Service has found. The report, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by The Washington Post, found that the 9-metre-high border wall, which requires deep, concrete foundations, is expected to impact Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Archaeologists conducted a survey of an 11-mile section of the park and found a range of well-preserved pre-Columbian artefacts; humans have lived in the area for at least 16,000 years. The report identified at least 17, and as many as 22, archaeological sites that could be damaged by the construction of the border wall. A spokesperson for the National Park Service said its mission is ‘to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System.

An edition of print portfolios by the late British-Gambian artist Khadija Saye, who died in the Grenfell Tower fire in London in 2017, are to be sold. The proceeds of the sale will go to the Estate of Khadija Saye and the Khadija Saye IntoArts Programme, an arts education scheme. The prints will be exhibited as part of ‘Rock My Soul’, a group show of black women artists curated by artist Isaac Julien, on view at Victoria Miro in London from 2 October to 2 November. Saye originally made the works for an exhibition in the Diaspora Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale, organized by artist Nicola Green. ‘All of Khadija’s work was destroyed in the fire, apart from the six tintypes in Venice and three she had taken to be scanned in high-resolution – to make silkscreens – just before the fire,’ Green explained.

The J. Paul Getty Trust has announced a US$100 million project to preserve and safeguard archaeological sites, Smithsonian Magazine has reported. The project, titled Ancient World Now: A Future for the Past will launch in summer 2020 and will run for at least a decade. The aims of the project include protecting sites from economic development, political conditions, war, climate change and tourism, and funds have also been set aside for conservation and educational activities, digitization projects, exhibitions and presentations. In a statement Getty president and CEO James Cuno said: ‘We will launch with urgency and build momentum for years to come. This work must start now, before more cultural heritage is neglected, damaged, or destroyed. Much is at stake.’

In further news: admission to DIA’s sites in New York City will be free from September 2020; Stepher Deuchar has announced his resignation as director of the UK Art Fund – a position he has held for a decade; and a new artist-in-residence programme has been established at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida.

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