Awkward Times for the Awarding of the BP Portrait Prize


A bit of tragic awkwardness at London’s National Portrait Gallery recently. The annual BP Portrait Prize was awarded this week at the museum to painter Daphne Todd for her piece, “Last Portrait of Mother,” wherein she depicts her mother in bed after she had just recently died. While her work is hauntingly beautiful and seems entirely worthy of the prize, it’s a rough time to be attached to the oil giant BP right now. There were protesters outside the National Portrait Galley during the award ceremony, many who weren’t just angry at BP for the ongoing spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but specifically that taking art funding from the company was reprehensible. While we’re certainly not pleased with what’s gone on with the spill, and the blame lies squarely on BP for causing this emotion in the first place, on purely a sympathetic personal level, it’s a tough break that Todd’s big win has been tainted by something outside of her control. But we’re sure the passage of time, and the £25,000 that comes with the award, will certainly help get her through. Also, as Art Info puts it, you have to give it to BP not to meddle with the judging, given the winner’s subject was death, something the company probably isn’t wanting to be any more attached to than it has to at the moment.