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Climate Change

17th Oct 2022

Woman who threw soup over Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ says she would never try to damage it

Charlie Herbert

Woman who threw soup over Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers' says she never try to damage it

They said the soup was simply wiped off ‘with a bit of kitchen roll’

One of the Just Stop Oil activists who threw tomato soup over Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ painting has said she would never try and cause damage to it.

On Friday, two environmental activists from the campaign group went into the National Gallery in London and threw soup over one of the most famous paintings of all time.

The act outraged many, but one of the protestors has now explained that they knew the painting was behind protective glass so they knew they wouldn’t be damaging it in any way.

She said: “Absolutely no damage done to the painting, it was behind glass and we never, ever would have considered doing it if we didn’t know it was behind glass so that we wouldn’t do any damage.

“I mean literally we were sat up there still glued to the wall, they wiped it off with a bit of kitchen roll.

“I recognise that it looks like a slightly ridiculous action, I agree it is ridiculous, but we’re not asking the question ‘should everybody be throwing soup on paintings’, what we’re doing is getting the conversation going so we can ask the questions that matter.

“Questions like ‘is it ok that Liz Truss is licensing over 100 new fossil fuel licences?’ and ‘is it ok that fossil fuels are subsidised 30 times more than renewables when offshore wind is currently nine times cheaper?'”

@freeseedfilms #juststopoil #Activist says there was “minimal damage” to #vangogh #Sunflowers is she right or misguided? #vangoghsoup #climatechange #freeseednews ♬ original sound – freeseedfilms

The two protestors, 20-year-old Anna Holland from Newcastle and 21-year-old Phoebe Plummer of Lambeth, have been charged with damaging the painting’s frame.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges, and will appear at the City of London Magistrate’s Court on December 13.

This isn’t the first time the art world has been targeted by Just Stop Oil. In July, two activists glued themselves to Van Gogh’s ‘Peach Trees in Blossom’ painting.

Louis Mckechnie, 21, and Emily Brocklebank, 24, glued themselves to the painting in London’s Courtauld Gallery.

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.”

On Monday morning, Just Stop Oil protestors managed to close the Dartford crossing by scaling the bridge.

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