Climate activists smash glass protecting painting at London gallery


Two #JustStopOil #climate activists were arrested after they smashed the glass covering of a #DiegoVelazquez painting at London’s National Gallery.

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Climate activists smash glass protecting painting at London gallery: In an audacious act of protest, two activists from the British climate justice group ‘Just Stop Oil’ vandalized a 370-year-old painting at London’s National Gallery. Using safety hammers, they shattered the glass covering on Diego Velázquez’s masterpiece, “The Rokeby Venus.” This is not the first time the painting has been targeted for a cause, as suffragette Mary Richardson vandalized it in 1914. The activists, identified as Hanan and Harrison, justified their actions as a means to draw attention to the urgent need to address climate change and the destructive impact of fossil fuels. While their tactics have sparked both praise and criticism, their message resonates: it is time to take action and “Just Stop Oil.” Let’s find out more here:

Activists Vandalize “The Rokeby Venus” Painting

A recent incident at London’s National Gallery has sparked controversy and debate as two activists from the British climate justice group ‘Just Stop Oil’ used safety hammers to break the glass covering on the famous painting, “The Rokeby Venus” by Diego Velázquez. This bold act of vandalism has drawn attention to the group’s cause and ignited discussions about the methods used to raise awareness about environmental issues.

Background on the Painting

“The Rokeby Venus” is a renowned artwork that has captivated audiences for over three centuries. Painted by the Spanish artist Diego Velázquez, it depicts the Roman goddess Venus lying on a bed, gazing into a mirror held by her son Cupid. The painting’s exquisite beauty and masterful technique have made it a cherished piece of art history.

Previous Vandalism of the Painting

Interestingly, this is not the first time “The Rokeby Venus” has been subjected to acts of vandalism. In 1914, suffragette Mary Richardson vandalized the painting to draw attention to the imprisonment of fellow suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. Richardson’s act of defiance became a symbol of the suffragette movement and highlighted the power of art as a medium for social change.

Identification of the Activists

The two activists responsible for the recent vandalism have been identified as 22-year-old Hanan and 20-year-old Harrison. Their actions were not only a protest against the government’s fossil fuel policies but also a call for action to protect the environment. While their methods have sparked controversy, they have succeeded in drawing attention to the urgent need for sustainable practices and a transition away from fossil fuels.

Reasons for Vandalism

The act of vandalism on “The Rokeby Venus” painting by activists from the group ‘Just Stop Oil’ was driven by a strong conviction to bring attention to the pressing issue of climate change and the detrimental effects of fossil fuel production. The activists believe that drastic measures are necessary to disrupt the status quo and prompt meaningful action towards a more sustainable future.

Statement by Hanan

Hanan, one of the activists involved in the vandalism, expressed their motivation behind the act, stating, “Women did not gain the right to vote by simply casting ballots; it was through bold actions that they were able to effect change. It is time for us to move beyond mere words and take concrete steps to address the destructive impact of oil on our planet.” Hanan’s statement highlights the urgency and frustration felt by many who believe that peaceful protests and traditional methods of advocacy have not yielded the desired results.

Statement by Harrison

Harrison, the other activist involved, explained their intent in a statement given to Just Stop Oil. Quoting Emmeline Pankhurst, Harrison emphasized the need to make more noise and be more obtrusive than anyone else in order to achieve social change. They argued that the suffragette movement serves as proof that disruptive actions can bring about significant transformation. Harrison’s statement reflects a belief in the power of civil resistance and the necessity of drawing attention to the government’s failure to address the environmental crisis.

Reactions and Support

The act of vandalism on “The Rokeby Venus” painting has elicited a range of reactions from the public, sparking intense debates about the effectiveness and ethics of such tactics. While some condemn the activists’ actions, others have expressed support for their cause and the need for urgent action to combat climate change.

Support from Joanie Lemercier

French visual artist Joanie Lemercier has extended support for the activists and their actions. Lemercier, known for their work in the art world, stated, “As an artist, I stand in solidarity with these actions. There is no art on a dead planet.” Lemercier’s endorsement highlights the belief that art can be a powerful tool for raising awareness and provoking change, even if it means challenging societal norms and institutions.

Alternative Perspective on the Tactics

While many share concerns about the environment and the need for sustainable practices, there are those who question the effectiveness of the activists’ tactics. One individual expressed a different sentiment, stating, “I understand and agree with your concerns and goals, but I disagree with your methods. Art is one of the few positive aspects of humanity, and resorting to vandalism undermines its value. There must be more constructive ways to address these issues.” This perspective highlights the tension between the desire for change and the preservation of artistic heritage.

About Just Stop Oil

Just Stop Oil is a British climate justice group that was founded in February 2022. Committed to raising awareness about the detrimental effects of fossil fuel production, the group aims to bring about significant changes in government policies and promote sustainable practices. Through their activism, Just Stop Oil seeks to address the urgent need for a transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy sources.

Protest Tactics and Goals

Just Stop Oil employs various protest tactics to draw attention to their cause. These tactics include civil resistance, vandalism, and traffic obstruction. While controversial, these actions are intended to disrupt the status quo and prompt meaningful action from the government and society at large. The group’s ultimate goal is to create a sense of urgency and mobilize individuals to actively participate in the fight against climate change.

Opposition to Fossil Fuel Mining

Just Stop Oil strongly opposes the continued mining and extraction of fossil fuels. They argue that the world already possesses an abundance of oil and gas reserves that cannot be sustainably consumed. The group advocates for a complete shift towards renewable energy sources and a reduction in energy demand. By highlighting the environmental and social consequences of fossil fuel mining, Just Stop Oil aims to galvanize public support and push for policy changes that prioritize sustainability and the protection of our planet.

Two activists from the British climate justice group ‘Just Stop Oil’ vandalized a 370-year-old painting by Diego Velázquez at London’s National Gallery. The painting, “The Rokeby Venus,” had its glass covering broken with safety hammers. This act of vandalism was done to draw attention to the group’s opposition to fossil fuel mining and the need for renewable energy. The activists were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage. While their tactics have received both praise and criticism, they believe in the power of civil resistance to bring about social change. Let’s continue to explore constructive ways to address environmental concerns and work towards a sustainable future.

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