Mar 20, 2014

Arts and business need to come clean over ‘dirty money’

Reducing arts funding to arguments over "dirty money" is unhelpful, but organisations need to be clear-eyed about their sponsors.

Ray Gill

Crikey culture editor

The protest group Generation Alpha yesterday “poisoned” an artwork at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane. It was not affronted by the New York artist Cai Gou-Qiang’s Heritage, which features 99 life-sized, stuffed animals surrounding a pristine lake. No, its target was GOMA’s biggest corporate sponsor — Santos.

Generation Alpha claims Santos is “poisoning” the Pilliga Forest in north-western New South Wales where its coal seam gas project was found to have contaminated an aquifer with uranium at levels 20 times higher than safe drinking water guidelines. The Alpha protest saw a man dressed as a koala stand in front of the artwork, drink a cup of contaminated water and collapse and “die”. The protest was to highlight the belief that koalas are at risk from Santos’ activities and to illustrate GOMA’s acceptance of  Santos’ “dirty money”.

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