It’s unclear whether the London institution will renew its contract with the oil and gas giant British Petroleum when it expires in 2023.
The protesters also targeted the British government’s controversial plan to build a road near the Stonehenge site.
The institution’s announcement follows a protest at the British Museum this weekend over oil giant BP’s sponsorship of its Stonehenge exhibition.
The fossil fuel giant, which has sponsored the BP Portrait Award for 30 years, will no longer have a say in the judging process.
Hundreds of activists occupied the British Museum for a protest lasting over two days straight, coinciding with the BP-sponsored exhibition Troy: Myth and Reality.
Activist group BP or not BP? interrupted the opening of Troy: Myth and Reality at the British Museum, dressed as “living statues,” including a character of their own invention, “Petroleus.”
The gallery follows in the footsteps of Tate, the National Theatre, and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
BP or not BP? launched a crowdfunding campaign to build a giant Trojan Horse for its largest protest yet, which will coincide with the museum’s Troy: Myth and Reality exhibition.
“We are all together in this crisis and we all must change,” Rylance said in an opinion article published in the Guardian. “I am resigning to lend strength to the voices within the RSC who want to be progressive, and to encourage my fellow associates to express themselves, too.”
Dozens of protesters blocked entry to the gallery for guests of the ceremony, linking arms and chaining themselves to the gallery gates. Guests were forced to climb over the wall with the assistance of security in order to enter the gallery.
“There should be no role for an oil company in the artistic decisions of any cultural organization,” wrote the competition judge, artist Gary Hume, “and especially not in determining the winner of the world’s leading portrait award.”
An exhibition at P21 gallery highlights the human consequences of the exploitation of Iraq’s oil reserves, among them, environmental crises, state corruption, and youth unemployment.