In the bays of the Courtauld Gallery, two environmental activists have decided to stick to the frame of a painting painted by Van Gogh. They claim to be “terrified by their future”.
Two environmental activists from the movement Just Stop Oil, which demands the cessation of all new infrastructure linked to fossil fuels, glued themselves to the frame of a Van Gogh painting in a London museum on Thursday. They targeted an 1889 painting, “Peaches in Bloom”, depicting a landscape in the south of France, on display at the Courtauld Gallery, according to the environmental organization and the museum.
“Sorry everyone, we don’t feel like doing this, we are glued to this painting, this beautiful painting, because we are terrified for our future”, explained in a video uploaded by the organization. Louis McKechnie, a 21-year-old activist.
A “public enemy No. 1”
Already arrested 20 times, the young man who spent six weeks in prison this winter for having blocked the motorway that surrounds London with others, notably distinguished himself by interrupting a football match in March after attaching himself at a goal post. He had recently declared that he was ready to become “public enemy No. lives in danger.
Referring to the “40 new government fossil fuel projects”, a figure frequently cited by environmental groups, he estimated that signing each of them was equivalent to “signing our death warrant”, in this video where the two activists , wearing an orange Just Stop Oil t-shirt, have their fingers on the frame of the artwork. “I can’t live in a bubble of normalcy when society is collapsing around us and people in the South are suffering so much,” Emily Brocklebank, a 24-year-old psychology student, was quoted in a statement as saying.
“We need everyone to focus on the government’s genocidal plans to allow oil companies to drill to extract more oil,” she added. “This is one of the greatest injustices in history. We must resist.”
A similar action in Glasgow
Just Stop Oil points out that this action comes at a time when Provence, a region in the south of France painted by Van Gogh, is at risk of suffering from drought. The Courtauld Gallery explained that the room where the painting is displayed was “immediately closed to the public” after the two activists stuck to the frame in the afternoon.
The museum has counted on a reopening last Friday. According to Just Stop Oil, five of its activists were arrested on Wednesday after an action in a museum in Glasgow (Scotland) where they painted inscriptions on the floor and a wall and glued themselves to the frame of a 19th century painting representing a landscape of the Scottish Highlands.