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Climate Activists Use Art and Food to Make a Statement

SunflowersIt started at the beginning of October, when climate control activists threw tomato soup at the Vincent van Gogh painting Sunflowers. The group known as Just Stop Oil, walked into the U.K.’s National Gallery, threw the soup and then glued their hands to the wall. Weeks later the same group pulled the same stunt, only using a Claude Monet painting and mashed potato, in Germany. Both times the paintings were luckily protected by glass and nothing of value was damaged.

Edit 10/31/22: They also struck the Girl With a Pearl Earring on Oct 27th.

These attempted acts of vandalism may seem strange, but to the activist groups it has proven to be effective. It has drawn plenty of attention to their cause and gotten across their point that art isn’t worth more than life. Earlier in the summer the groups had started by gluing their hands to the walls attached to Botticelli’s Primavera and Nicholas Poussin’s Thunderscape with Pyramus and Thisbe, but that didn’t get them enough attention so they added the food element for more drama. Before that, protestors for Just Stop Oil would block roadways and spray paint buildings.

They say that their main goal is to draw attention to the climate control crisis that we are facing as a world. They are attempting to do that through acts of civil disobedience, avoid violence but not damage. They are hoping that by applying pressure to various governments they can increase the use of public transportation and the decrease of fossil fuels. Their earlier protests that blocked transit were considered a minor nuisance to locals, but these recent stunts have garnered them international notoriety and attention to the cause. The people involved were arrested and will be facing charges in each country.

About the Author

Amanda graduated from the University of Kansas, where she studied English literature and got a masters degree in library sciences. She enjoys reading, cooking and playing with her nephews. Her best friend is her little dog Brady.