British Culture Luminaries Call on UK Government to Act on Refugee Crisis

Signatories include Anish Kapoor, Sam Taylor-Johnson, and Douglas Gordon.

Anish Kapoor.© Patrick McMullan.
Anish Kapoor.© Patrick McMullan.

A group of leading British artists, actors, musicians, and other cultural luminaries have signed a petition urging the UK government to act on the European refugee crisis.

The prominent activists bought a full-page advertisement in the Guardian, urging lawmakers to “wake up to the urgency of the current refugee crisis and work with its European counterparts to offer immediate humanitarian help and agree long term solutions to refugee resettlement.”

The campaign was conceived and developed by Anish Kapoor, director Joe Wright, musician Anoushka Shankar, publisher Jamie Byng, and London-based South African artist Adam Broomberg.

Leni Broomberg and her godfather Oliver Chanarin.Photo: Courtesy the artist.

Leni Broomberg and her godfather Oliver Chanarin.
Photo: Courtesy the artist.

The group urged the UK government to take action and develop concrete policies to help the vast numbers of refugees and migrants landing on European shores after fleeing war, political instability, and poverty.

Art world stars, including Antony Gormley, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Douglas Gordon, Grayson Perry, Jenny Saville, Michael Craig-Martin, Mona Hatoum, Rachel WhitereadSam Taylor-Johnson, and Tacita Dean all signed the petition.

Actor and activist Benedict Cumberbatch also campaigns for Save the Children. Photo: Save the Children via the Guardian

Actor and activist Benedict Cumberbatch also campaigns for Save the Children.
Photo: Save the Children via the Guardian

Other signatories include the actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Jude Law, the architect David Chipperfield, the musician Eric Clapton, the actress Keira Knightley, and the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.

“I was motivated by a sense of outrage against our doctrinaire government, which had been so grossly unjust,” Kapoor told the Guardian.

Artists Amalia Pica, and Adam Broomberg. <br>Photo: Courtesy the artists.

Artists Amalia Pica, and Adam Broomberg.
Photo: Courtesy the artists.

“We have taken the view that it is better to have an influence on policy than send direct aid–we hope to apply pressure to change the government’s position,” he explained. Since 2011, the UK has only accepted 5,000 Syrian asylum seekers.

Whilst Germany has welcomed thousands of migrants and refugees the UK has kept its borders closed. Photo: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters via the Washington Post

Whilst Germany has welcomed thousands of migrants and refugees the UK has kept its borders closed.
Photo: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters via the Washington Post

“We want to welcome refugees to our country,” the artists and creatives declared. “We have a moral responsibility to offer safe haven to people fleeing war and persecution; a responsibility that should be shared with our European neighbors and not simply shouldered by the countries closest to the turbulence driving people from their homes,” they stressed.

The full statement was published in the Guardian.<br>Photo: Courtesy the artists.

The full statement was published in the Guardian.
Photo: Courtesy the artists.

“We believe that the British government can do better, and must do better in its proposals to resettle people seeking safety and peace,” they said in their statement.

The call to action comes amid the largest influx of migrants in Europe since records began. According to the statement, 42,500 people became refugees, asylum seekers, or were displaced within their home countries each day during the last year.

Related stories:

Ai Weiwei and Anish Kapoor Call for Protest Walk for Refugees

Ai Weiwei and Anish Kapoor Joined by Activists in Protest March for Refugees

As Germany Welcomes Refugees, Kunsthaus Lempertz Launches Charity Auction for Migrants

Controversial German Art Collective Buries Deceased Migrants in Berlin


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share

Article topics