Climate activists throw soup at Vincent Van Gogh’s painting ‘Sunflowers’ in London
The activists belong to Just Stop Oil group which wants the British government to stop setting up new oil and gas projects.
Climate activists on Friday vandalised Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh’s painting Sunflowers by throwing soup at it in London’s National Gallery as a mark of protest against fossil fuel extraction, reported the Associated Press.
Climate activism group Just Stop Oil, which wants the British government to stop new oil and gas projects, said the activists dumped two cans of tomato soup on the oil painting and glued themselves to the wall.
The gallery management said that the protesters caused minor damage to the frame but the painting was unharmed, reported AFP. The painting was cleaned and returned to the gallery in a few hours.
The police have arrested two persons in connection with the incident.
In a video of the incident, the activists is seen justifying their action.
“What is worth more, art or life?” one of them asked. “Is it worth more than food, worth more than justice, are you more concerned about the protection of a painting or the protection of our planet and people?”
She added that food was unaffordable to millions who cannot manage even a can of soup.
“Human creativity and brilliance is on show in this gallery, yet our heritage is being destroyed by our government’s failure to act on the climate and cost of living crisis,” the organisation said in a statement.
In the evening, another activist from the organisation gathered at the Metropolitan Police headquarters in London and sprayed yellow paint over a rotating “New Scotland Yard” sign in front of it.
Several protestors also glued themselves to the road, blocking traffic. The police said they arrested 24 protestors in connection with this incident.
Just Stop Oil has drawn attention to its protests by targeting artworks in museums. In July, its activists had glued themselves to the frame of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, and to John Constable’s The Hay Wain in the National Gallery.
Activists have also blocked bridges and intersections across London during its two weeks of protests.
The demonstrations come as the British government is opening a new licensing round for North Sea oil and gas exploration, despite criticism from environmentalists and scientists who say the move undermines the country’s commitment to fighting climate change.