August 9, 2022


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Environmentalists step up crackdown on English museums

Activists have taken down a canvas from the National Gallery to depict a landscape ravaged by pollution. Van Gogh, Turner, Constable… this is the fourth action in less than a week.

This is one of the reasons why they are so connected. Within a week, environmentalists from the British group Just Stop Oil got their hands on a fourth painting held in a British collection. Two activists cover up a painting National Gallery from London, Hay cart Painted in 1827 by John Constable (1776-1837). Activists stuck to the image of a bucolic landscape slaughtered by fossil fuels before sticking to the frame of creation.

“This painting is part of our heritage, but it is no more important than the 3.5 billion men, women and children already at risk from the climate crisis.”, said a 22-year-old music student, one of the two activists. No information was available on the status of the painting at the end of the day on Monday. Just Stop Oil activists have not been arrested, London police told AFP.

Prior to the collective action at the National Gallery, three paintings exhibited in the United Kingdom had already paid the price for Just Stop Oil’s activism. After seeing a Scottish landscape by Horatio McCulloch (1805-1867) on display at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow on Wednesday, On Thursday, Blossom Peach Trees by Van Gogh (1853-1890) at the Courtault Gallery., activists renewed their action at Manchester Art Gallery on Friday. Dressed in orange T-shirts, two young men with their movement’s name on it placed a hand smeared with glue on the frame. Thomson’s Aeolian HarpA scene of the River Thames was drawn William Turner (1775-1851) in 1809.

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Two activists of Just Stop Oil at the National Gallery in London, a hand stuck to the frame of a painting by John Constable covered in grass. Carlos Jazo/AFP

Why should you lay your hands on these three peaceful and rural landscapes? To shed light on collective struggle Against fossil fuels And the world of culture will pass away. “Our wildlife and our landscapes are being destroyed, we are facing famine and war. Our government is accelerating this chaos by allowing new fossil fuel infrastructure. One of the two activists clinging to William Turner’s painting said Friday, according to a British newspaper Guardian . No one is entitled to a pass. By refusing to use its power and influence to end this madness, the art world is complicit in this genocide.

Before working at the Manchester Art Gallery, the two activists tagged the floor in front of the painting, writing their slogan “No New Oil” in purple (“No New Oil Projects”) According to a press release from the group Just Stop Oil, the Thames depicted in William Turner’s painting will continue to flood from 2030.

Stop all oil and gas projects

The English gallery was evacuated by the Greater Manchester Metropolitan County Police Force on Friday. After a 40-minute intervention, the two activists were jailed by the police for vandalizing public property. According to Manchester Evening News , the painting and its frame were immediately examined by curators at the Manchester Art Gallery. The museum has not reported the accident since Friday. The Courtauld GalleryOn the other hand, where another group of enthusiasts took Van Gogh’s painting, it indicated that the French artist’s painting was not defaced.

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In line with the Doomsday Rebellion, the Just Stop Oil coalition calls for an immediate halt to all new oil and gas projects. He has stood out in the United Kingdom in recent weeks by carrying out various preventive measures. On Sunday, five activists disrupted the British Grand Prix race at Silverstone by bursting onto the circuit.

A group of young men, mainly in their twenties and thirties, made headlines in March when they disrupted a match between clubs Everton and Newcastle in Liverpool. Just Stop Oil figurehead Louise McKechnie, 21, told AFP in June that she was ready to become one. “Public Enemy No. 1” Sound the alarm about the climate crisis. “What is most important? This painting? Or the future?, Thursday summed up the activists who intervened around Van Gogh’s canvases in London. With one limitation: to be non-violent.