Now Just Stop Oil ‘eco vandals’ target 16th century copy of The Last Supper: Protesters glue themselves to yet ANOTHER artwork at Royal Academy – a day after they damaged Constable’s iconic The Hay Wain while security watched on
Environmental activists from Just Stop Oil have shut down another art gallery today after gluing themselves to the frame of a copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
Three of those involved today were identified by Just Stop Oil as Jessica Agar, 21, an art student from Hereford; Tristan Strange, 40, a community organiser from Swindon; and Lucy Porter, 47, a former teacher from Leeds.
The four protesters also sprayed painted the phrase ‘no new oil’ below the 20ft painting, which depicts a scene from the Gospel of John in the Bible when Jesus Christ announces that one of his 12 apostles will betray him.
They entered The Collection Gallery at the Academy just after 11.30am, and glued their hands to the base of the painting. Security quickly responded and cleared visitors away before trying to prise the activists off the painting.
The copy in the Royal Academy was painted around 1520 and is almost the same size as the original – but missing the top third of da Vinci’s composition, which is on the wall of the Santa Maria delle Grazie church in Milan.
The value of the London work is not known, but will likely be worth tens of millions of pounds because the original is estimated to be worth at least £375million ($450million). The only other official copy is located in Switzerland.
It comes less than 24 hours after two climate change activists from the same protest group glued themselves to the frame of John Constable’s masterpiece The Hay Wain at the National Gallery while security guards watched on.
Just Stop Oil are calling for the Government to commit to halt new oil and gas licenses in the UK and for the directors, employees and members of art institutions to join their coalition in ‘peaceful civil resistance’.
One of the protesters at the Royal Academy, Ms Agar, said today: ‘No painting is worth more than my six-month old nephew’s life. No sculpture can feed babies starving because extreme heat killed food crops.
Six charged over British Grand Prix track protest
Six people have been charged over the track invasion at the beginning of the Formula 1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Five protesters stormed the Wellington Straight – the fastest point of the Northamptonshire track – before sitting down during the opening lap of Sunday’s race.
Protestors are removed after running onto the track at the Formula 1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday
The contest had already been suspended following Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu’s high-speed crash, but a number of cars sped by as the group from Just Stop Oil launched their protest. They were swiftly dragged away by marshals to cheers from the watching crowd.
Northamptonshire Police said David Baldwin, 46, of Stonesfield, Witney, Oxfordshire, Emily Brocklebank, 24, of Yeadon, Leeds, Alasdair Gibson, 21, of no fixed address, Louis McKechnie, 21, of London, Bethany Mogie, 40, of St Albans, Hertfordshire, and Joshua Smith, 28, of Manchester, have all been charged with conspiracy to cause public nuisance.
All six will appear at Northampton Magistrates’ Court this morning. The force said a 43-year-old man also arrested in connection with the incident has been released under investigation pending further inquiries.
‘Nurses are lining up outside food banks, not galleries. If the directors of this gallery really believe that art has the power to change the world then I demand that they claim that power, close and refuse to open until the government commits to no new oil.’
Ms Agar, who wore an orange Just Stop Oil T-Shirt, added: ‘I am an art student but there is no place for me to follow my calling as an artist in a world where I have no future.
‘In no uncertain terms, the establishment – of which the Royal Academy is a part – has condemned me and all young people to suffer. I am outraged and you should be too.’
Another protester, Ms Porter, said: ‘When I was teaching I brought my students to great institutions like the Royal Academy. But now it feels unfair to expect them to respect our culture when their government is hellbent on destroying their future by licensing new oil and gas projects.
‘We have no time left, to say that we do is a lie. We must halt all new oil and gas right now, we will stop disrupting art institutions as soon as the government makes a meaningful statement to do so. Until then, the disruption will continue so that young people know we are doing all we can for them. There is nothing I would rather be doing.’
And Mr Strange added: ‘I’m terrified for our future. We are heading for a collapse of our food supply and a world in which only the rich can feed themselves comfortably.
‘Time is running out to change course or prepare for disaster and the message is not reaching the public: there is no free pass, we are all in this together and we must all rise up in civil resistance to force the government to stop new oil and gas.
‘Da Vinci said that art is the Queen of all sciences communicating knowledge to all the generations of the world. The science still isn’t being heard.
‘We are continually fed comforting lies that downplay the urgency of the climate crisis we face so that fossil fuel interests can continue to reap huge profits whilst the global south and our children are condemned to live in a potential hell.
‘I call on all artists to harness every ounce of their creativity sounding the alarm in the hope that it cuts through the misinformation. Nothing is more critical at the moment.’
The group were led by Simon Bramwell, who apologised for disrupting other visitors but added: ‘The truth is that any new oil expansion is a death sentence for the future.’
The protesters involved in yesterday’s action at the National Gallery were named by Just Stop Oil as music student Eben Lazarus, 22, and psychology student Hannah Hunt, 23, who are both from Brighton.
The duo forced the evacuation of art lovers, tourists and a class of 11-year-old children on a school trip from the room where the painting hangs after they struck at 2.15pm yesterday.
They attached their own image of ‘an apocalyptic vision of the future’ of the landscape, on three large sheets of paper, featuring an old car dumped in front of the Mill and the Hay Wain cart carrying an old washing machine.
Mr Lazarus and Miss Hunt wore white T-shirts with the Just Stop Oil logo, stepped over a rope barrier and then placed the coloured paper on to the front of the painting. Each also placed a hand on the frame of the painting and kneeled beneath it before loudly outlining their concerns as visitors were ushered out by security staff.
During the protest Mr Lazarus, who described himself as an art lover, said: ‘Art is important. It should be held for future generations to see, but when there is no food what use is art. When there is no water, what use is art. When billions of people are in pain and suffering, what use then is art.’
The Hay Wain, which was painted in 1821, is one of the most popular paintings at the gallery and shows a rural Suffolk scene of a wagon returning to the fields across a shallow ford for another load.
Mr Lazarus said: ‘We have stuck a reimagined version of the Hay Wain that demonstrates our road to disaster.’
Miss Hunt later added that ‘the disruption will end when the UK Government makes a meaningful statement that it will end new oil and gas licences’. She continued: ‘I’m here because our government plans to license 40 new UK oil and gas projects in the next few years.
‘This makes them complicit in pushing the world towards an unliveable climate and in the death of billions of people in the coming decades.
Activists from Just Stop Oil glued their hands to the frame of John Constable’s The Hay Wain at the National Gallery yesterday
‘You can forget our ‘green and pleasant land’ when further oil extraction will lead to widespread crop failures which means we will be fighting for food. Ultimately, new fossil fuels are a death project by our Government.
‘So yes, there is glue on the frame of this painting but there is blood on the hands of our government.’
A spokesman for the National Gallery said the room was closed to the public and police were called. They said later: ‘The painting was removed from the wall to be examined by our conservation team.
‘The Hay Wain suffered minor damage to its frame and there was also some disruption to the surface of the varnish on the painting – both of which have now been successfully dealt with.
‘The painting will be rehung in Room 34 ready for when the National Gallery opens at 10am on Tuesday.’
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: ‘At approximately 14.25 on Monday officers were called to a protest taking place inside the National Gallery involving two people. Two people were arrested.’
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