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Three figures dressed in black entered the north room of the British Museum and ritualistically poured oil from large eggs bearing BP logos in front of an Easter Island statue, an emblem of a lost civilisation. No artefacts were harmed in the making of this performance.

Surprised visitors to the Museum took photos of the unexpected addition to Captain Cook’s 2,000-year-old relic, taken from his 18th century travels around South America and the seas now known as the Gulf of Mexico, where the much-publicised Deepwater Horizon oil spill has had a devastating effect since being triggered by a rig explosion in April.

The group chose the sculpture because of its fabled links with the sudden demise of reputedly strong civilisations.

Liberate Tate is an art collective dedicated to exploring the role of creative intervention in social change, and freeing the art world from the grip of oil sponsorship.