‘Woke’ climate activists throw tomato soup at $84 million Van Gogh painting

Two woke anti-oil activists on Friday created a ruckus at the National Gallery in London by throwing tomato soup at Vincent Van Gogh’s painting ‘Sunflowers’.

The said perpetrators have been linked to a group named ‘Just Stop Oil’. They threw soup on the $84.2 million painting to protest fossil fuel extraction. The two activists have been identified as Phoebe Plummer, 21, from London and Anna Holland, 20, from Newcastle.

After splashing the soup, the duo glued themselves to the wall, much to the abject surprise of the crowd gathered in room 43 of the gallery. 

“What is worth more, art or life?” Plummer could be heard shouting after the incident while Holland added, “Is it worth more than food? More than justice? Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting or the protection of our planet and people?”

Informing about the incident, National Gallery in a statement said, “At just after 11 am this morning two people entered Room 43 of the National Gallery. The pair appeared to glue themselves to the wall adjacent to Van Gogh’s Sunflowers (1888). They also threw a red substance – what appears to be tomato soup – over the painting.”

“The room was cleared of visitors and police were called. Officers are now on the scene. There is some minor damage to the frame but the painting is unharmed,” it read further. 

The Metropolitan Police said the offenders have been arrested for criminal damage and aggravated trespass. 

The netizens weren’t amused by the duo’s vandalisation attempt. One netizen quote tweeted the video shared by Just Stop Oil and said, “Literally makes no sense. Targeting internationally important works of art won’t increase support for your cause, or create change. It’ll just turn people who have always supported the protests and the need for change against you, whilst giving bait to right wing hacks.”


Meanwhile, another added, “The left-wing eco-terrorist organisation Just Stop Oil maintains its Twitter account. @Twitter, where are you now? The limit of your tolerance should be the use of violence.”

“Here’s some free advice for you folks, “any publicity is good publicity” hasn’t been true for over 30 years now, doing stuns like these just makes people hate your cause, so, if you wanna do something important, don’t go around destroying irreplaceable treasures of humanity,” said another netizen, not amused by the activists’ actions. 


Notably, this is not the first incidence of ‘Just Stop Oil’ activists taking a rather dire approach to make their voices heard. 

As reported by WION, in July, two activists of the organisation used a similar modus operandi and glued themselves to Van Gogh’s “Peach Trees in Blossom” painting at the London gallery while protesting against former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s climate policies.

Read more: British climate activists glue hand to Van Gogh painting to protest UK govt’s climate policies

According to Just Stop Oil, the 1899 painting of the bucolic landscape was targeted because the region it depicts in Provence may soon experience severe drought.

“We don’t want to be doing this,” Louis McKechnie, one of the pair claiming to have attached himself to the Van Gogh work, told onlookers at the London gallery, according to footage shared by “Just Stop Oil”, according to AFP.

The group, infamous for its actions has been advocating for a fossil-fuel future in the UK. They have demanded that the UK government immediately stop licensing new fossil fuel exploration, development and production projects. However, their actions haven’t gone down well with the public. 

Read more: Australia: Two climate activists glue themselves to Picasso’s painting

(With inputs from agencies)


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