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Protest Stencil withdraws work from Science Museum for arms sponsorship

STREET art collective Protest Stencil withdrew their artwork from a Science Museum exhibition yesterday in protest against its sponsorship by a major arms company selling missiles to Saudi Arabia.

The “Top Secret” spy exhibition is sponsored by Raytheon, whose missiles have been used by the Saudi regime in attacks on civilians in Yemen.

Last month, the court of appeal ruled that the British government broke the law by selling arms to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.

Protest Stencil accused the museum of collaborating in “artwashing,” a term used for corporations involved in human rights abuses or environmental destruction to try to improve their image by associating themselves with culture.

A Protest Stencil spokesperson said: “Back in March, the Science Museum got in touch saying they were planning an exhibition about data and data breaches.

“They asked if they could display one of our Facebook adhack posters from last year. We agreed, thinking it was for an exhibition about the perils of social media and data capture.

“Then we found out that the event was being used as a promotional tool by Raytheon, one of the biggest arms companies in the world.

“We won’t be part of this kind of artwashing. We hope other artists will also choose not to lend their work to exhibitions that seek to normalise death and destruction.”

Protest Stencil instead has decided to offer its artwork for auction at the upcoming Art the Arms Fair exhibition, which will explore the upcoming Defence and Security Equipment International arms fair while raising money for Campaign Against Arms Trade.

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