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March 30 2012

Letters: Art and arms trade

Today sees the launch of a campaign calling on the National Gallery to end its support for the arms trade. The gallery regularly hosts events for the arms industry, as a result of a sponsorship deal with global weapons manufacturer Finmeccanica. These events include receptions for the weapons fairs Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi) and the Farnborough air show.

Such arms fairs are a key part of the global arms trade, bringing authoritarian regimes and weapons manufacturers from around the world to the UK to do business. In 2010 Libya, China and Saudi Arabia were among the customers being courted at Farnborough. In 2011, Bahrain and Egypt were shopping at DSEi, even though both were using lethal force against protesters at the time.

By entering into this deal the gallery not only provides a gloss of legitimacy for a reprehensible trade; it is also providing very practical support for the arms industry. How can an institution which celebrates the creative spirit of humanity open its door to those dealing in products designed to kill and destroy?

We urge the gallery not to host a reception for the Farnborough air show in July and to end its sponsorship arrangement with Finmeccanica.
Peter Kennard Artist
Will Self Novelist and journalist
Matthew Herbert Sound artist/composer
Mark McGowan Artist and associate lecturer at Chelsea College of Art
Lisa Wesley Artist
Steve Duncombe Co-director, Center for Artistic Activism, New York
Tim Jeeves Artist and writer
Ian Mack Painter
Leila Galloway Artist and senior lecturer, DMU
Space Hijackers Artists
Leah Borromeo Journalist and film-maker
Brett Bloom Artist
Hayley Newman Artist
Brian Holmes Art critic
Cecilia Wee Curator and writer
Noel Douglas Artist
David Caines Visual artist
Nathan Witt RCA
Sarah Waldron Campaign Against Arms Trade
Stop the Arms Fair Coalition © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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