Just Stop Oil protestors glue themselves to Van Gogh painting in climate change protest 1 month ago

Just Stop Oil protestors glue themselves to Van Gogh painting in climate change protest

It is unclear if the painting has been damaged

Two activists from Just Stop Oil glued themselves to a Vincent Van Gogh painting in protest against the art world's seeming ignorance towards climate change.

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Louis Mckechnie, 21, and Emily Brocklebank, 24, glued themselves to "Peach Trees in Blossom" on Thursday at the Courtauld Gallery in London.

The painting is a view of an open plain outside Arles, France, in early spring, and was completed in 1889 by the famous painter.

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McKechnie, from Weymouth, said that he loved the painting as a kid and still loves it, but now values the "future survival of my generation more highly than my public reputation."

“The scientists are saying we need to end fossil fuel licensing and the government is pouring sand in their ears. I’m not willing to be marched to my death by the fossil fuel companies and their government puppets."

He said it was "immoral" for cultural institutions such as galleries to "stand by and watch whilst out society descends into chaos," adding: "Galleries should close. Directors of art institutions should be calling on the government to stop all new oil and gas projects immediately. We are either in resistance or we are complicit.”

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Just Stop Oil point out that France has experienced 45 percent less rainfall than usual this year, and water restrictions are currently in place across 39 of France’s 96 mainland départements.

The group later posted a video of police officers responding to the protest.

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Brocklebank, a psychology student from Leeds, said: “I’m taking action today because I can’t live in a bubble of normality when society is collapsing around us and people in the global south are suffering so much.

"Billionaires are getting richer whilst nurses queue at food banks, tens of millions of people across the world are starving and half the world’s population is exposed to extreme danger from heat waves, floods, fires and famine. Meanwhile the art establishment, the politicians and the fossil fuel companies look the other way.

“Art is so important, it captures history and a moment in time, but artists and the art establishment are failing us by focusing on the wrong things. We need everyone to focus on the government’s genocidal plans to allow fossil fuel companies to drill for more oil. This is one of the greatest injustices in history. We must resist.”

It is not clear whether the protest damaged the painting or not.

It's not the first time that activists have targeted a piece of art to make a statement. Earlier this year, a French man dressed up as an old lady threw a cake at the Mona Lisa as part of a climate change protest, unrelated to the Just Stop Oil group.

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As he left the Louvre, he shouted: "Think of the planet! There are people who are destroying the planet - think about that! That’s why I did it!”

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