Van “Go” to a protest

Della Steif, Print Team Leader

   On Oct. 14 Phobe Plummer and Anna Holland, two climate change activists, are seen on video throwing a can of tomato soup on the famous Van Gogh sunflower painting. After the protestors threw the soup on the painting, they glued their hands to the wall of the exhibit. The protestors were part of an activist group called “Just Stop Oil”, which is an environmental activist group that resides in the United Kingdom that specializes in nonviolent forms of protest. The idea of gluing your hand to the wall is a common form of protest. Another instance happened back in July when activists glued themselves to Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”, though it did not get as much media coverage as protest did. 

   “What is worth more—art or life? Is it worth more than food? Worth more than justice? Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting, or the protection of our planet and people? The cost of living crisis is part of the cost of the oil crisis. Fuel is unaffordable to millions of cold, hungry families. They can’t even afford to heat a tin of soup,” Plummer yelled to the audience that had gathered around the scene. Although there was a can of soup thrown onto the painting, the glass film covering it so the painting was not harmed in protest. 

   On Oct.15, Plummer and Holland appeared in court for two brief hearings, and pleaded not guilty to any criminal damage to the painting. So, why did they do this? To bring attention to the problem of climate change, there have been protests popping up all over the world for this issue. In order to bring attention to the issue, there are often big protests like this.