Tattoo Artists Take Over Tate Gallery for Climate Change Protest

sarah_calavera in Stories

Activist group Liberate Tate stage live tattoo protest at Tate Gallery in London in response to their sponsorship from oil company BP.

Liberate Tate is an art collective that perform live unsanctioned performances in the Tate Art Gallery that speak out against the sponsorship of the arts from corporate oil giants BP (British Petroleum). Their latest protest is in the form of tattoo sessions in public within the gallery itself. Being advocates of art themselves the Tate Gallery cannot stop the group from performing these peaceful protests as the events themselves are works of art.

Protesters and tattoo artists work together to send their message about the future of climate change. Photo courtesy: The Guardian
Protesters and tattoo artists work together to send their message about the future of climate change. Photo courtesy: The Guardian

30 protesters set up tattoo stations in the 1840's room one of the display rooms in the gallery. The tattoos themselves were small but powerful in their message.

The tattooed number represents the concentration of carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere during the year of your birth. Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas emitted by using fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil and the biggest cause of global climate change. In the early 20th century, it reached 300 ppm for the first time in 800,000 years, beginning the destabilization of our climate and society through rising planetary temperatures.

Someone born in the 80's with a 338 parts per million tattoo photo from Liberate Tate
Someone born in the 80's with a 338 parts per million tattoo photo from Liberate Tate
Protester after getting tattooed in the Tate Gallery photo from Liberate Tate
Protester after getting tattooed in the Tate Gallery photo from Liberate Tate

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This person born in 1974 means the CO2 concentration was 330 parts per million
This person born in 1974 means the CO2 concentration was 330 parts per million

Alice Bell, a spokesperson for Liberate Tate said: “This makes a statement about the stain that oil has across society, on Tate, on the negotiations and across our culture, society and economics more broadly. The black mark on our skin reflects the taint of BP on Tate.”

Which year were you born? Find your CO2 number here...
Which year were you born? Find your CO2 number here...

The reason the collective chose tattooing as a form of expression is because "Climate change is permanent; so are tattoos" 

Tattoo protest at Tate Gallery. Protesters show their ink after the sessions. Photo by Martin Lesanto Smith
Tattoo protest at Tate Gallery. Protesters show their ink after the sessions. Photo by Martin Lesanto Smith

Check out the video below of the protesters discussing their tattoos and reasons for being involved in the Liberate Tate movement.

Morgan Curtis a youth delegate who attended the UN Climate Summit in Paris was so impressed by the Liberate Tate protest she got her own number tattooed on her wrist.

Morgan's year of birth was 1991 and the number was already at dangerous levels.
Morgan's year of birth was 1991 and the number was already at dangerous levels.

She chose to have it tattooed on her right hand because she wants to be reminded of it every time she shakes a hand at UN meetings and other summits so she can tell that person the true story behind the numbers.

Photo from Morgan Curtis
Photo from Morgan Curtis

sarah_calavera

@Sarah Calavera

Skull obsessed tattoo fanatic, writer for Tattoodo, voice actor and visual artist who loves metal and headbanging. Inspired by Neil Gaiman, Tool, horror & the macabre.

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