A painting about the Opioid crisis in USA, showing addicts and front line heath workers.

Tainted philanthropy…..

In Zoe Cameron Blog by Zoe Cameron

March 2019. USA/ World. Doctors prescribed Opioid painkillers to patients who have become addicted. Babies are being born addicts. EV. Oil on board. One hundred painted vows series.

In 2019 I made this painting in response to the unfolding stories which began to emerge in the media, about the crisis, human cost and scale of addiction from opioid drugs, a tragedy driven by the health industry itself.

Today I heard that the Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington London are the latest of our big creative institutions to decide to drop its controversial ties with the Sackler family.

A family of Cultural Philanthropists, over the years they and their charitable foundations have donated a massive amount of money to selected arts organisations here and overseas . Cultural centres we have all benefited from . In return the family also bought into the concept of cultural respect, the same as many high end art work investors .

I have watched with interest, to see how these tainted organisations distance themselves from the American makers of the Opiod prescription drug, which has proved to be so addictive and devastating for so many . It seems the bricks and mortar , wings and galleries built from their financial support will remain, but the public signage carrying the family name will go, and perhaps be renamed.

As for the future, a V&A museum spokesperson said “All donations are reviewed against the V&A’s gift acceptance policy, which includes due diligence procedures, considers reputational risk, and outlines best practice within the sector” .

So here we are , so many lives damaged , Purdue Pharma bankrupt , and public pressure , campaigners and protesters finally heard. We must wait to see what happens now, to the addicts, the devastated families who have lost loved ones, and many of our institutions . Maintaining these cultural centres will continue to be a challenge , as our expectations and examination of the origins and integrity of donations justifiably come evermore under the microscope.