Oil in the water – Shell banner
I made this simple banner last week for Shell Out Sounds, who used it to politely demonstrate at a Shell-sponsored performance at London’s South bank Centre. The 15-strong choir suddenly stood up in their seats behind the stage, in full view of the audience, and began to sing just before the main show was about to start. They launched into a version of the classic spiritual song Wade in the Water, with rewritten lyrics drawing attention to Shell’s ‘controversial’ human rights and environmental record. Here is a good video of the action:
The audience listened and clapped along as the choir sang verses based on Shell’s polluting activities in the Niger Delta, the Canadian tar sands and the Arctic, and applauded as the singers unfurled a banner reading “Oil in the Water” and bearing an evil-looking Shell logo. There was further applause as the song ended, and the choir then proceeded to the bar where they performed again before leaving the building. Security guards looked on but did not interfere. Photo of action by Hugh Warwick. The flyer that was handed out at the event, and the lyrics of the altered song, together with lots more info on Shell’s activities are on the Shell Out Sounds website. I am reminded of the words of Ken Saro-Wiwa (the murdered Nigerian poet and anti-shell activist) who said: “You cannot have ‘art for art’s sake’…art must do something“.