Artwork courtesy of Latuff
Report/photos By Carl
Lacoste is a French fashion company that many recognise by their green crocodile logo. They also sponsor the Lacoste Elysée Prize – an art competition organised by the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour was one of eight nominees who were shortlisted for the prize. However, Lacoste changed its mind about including Sansor’s work in the competition and asked the Museum to remove her as a nominee citing her work as “too pro-Palestinian”.
Sansour’s entry into the competition was entitled Nation Estate which feature images based on Palestine’s admission to UNESCO. In her entry, Sansour imagines the state contained in a single skyscraper, with each floor representing cities including Jerusalem, Ramallah, as well as Sansour’s native Bethlehem.
Within 48 hours of Sansour going public, the Musée de l’Elysée came out in her support announcing that it had decided to suspend its relationship with Lacoste as a sponsor of this prestigious prize for its insistence to exclude Sansour from the competition.
On Friday, December 23rd, over a dozen activists – some wearing Santa hats – mobilised at short notice outside the Lacoste shop on London’s Regent Street to distribute specially produced flyers condemning Lacoste and sing anti-apartheid carols. The flyers were offered to the few customers entering and leaving the Lacoste shop, as well as distributed to the hundreds of people passing by.
Despite the rain, the alternative carols sung in the very heart of London’s West End, minutes away from Oxford Circus, attracted attention from a considerable number of shoppers and tourists, many of who stopped to take photographs and were curious to find out more.
One man, seeing a Palestinian flag that one activist brought along, joined in. Others expressed their support by giving the ‘thumbs up’ sign and saying “well done” as they walked by.
Despite the peaceful nature of the picket, one Zionist verbally and physically assaulted a female human rights activist, an incident that required police intervention.
The presence of human rights campaigners outside Lacoste also attracted the attention of the media and thus campaigners were able to further raise awareness of the oppression and indignities suffered by the Palestinian people at the hands of the apartheid Zionist state.
Something tells us we haven’t heard the last of Lacoste.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Boycott Lacoste and tell others why they should as well.
- Leave an appropriate message on Lacoste’s Facebook page.
- Tweet a suitable message to Lacoste: @Lacoste_UK