Climate activists glue themselves to a National Gallery painting

The activists have urged the government to withdraw its plans to greenlight new oil and gas projects

Big Zero Report 2022

Two young supporters of Just Stop Oil have glued onto the frame of a Constable painting at the National Gallery in London after covering it with a reimagined version.

They are calling for the government to end new oil and gas licences and for art institutions to join them in civil resistance.

The group stuck a reimagined version of what is regarded as John Constable’s most famous painting, the Haywain, painted in 1821.

The painting shows a rural Suffolk scene and more specifically, a view of the millpond at Flatford on the River Stour.

The reimagined version carries a scene that demonstrates how oil could potentially destroy the countryside, “our road to disaster” according to the campaign group.

It said: “It shows the destructive nature of our addiction to oil.”

Hannah Hunt, a student from Brighton, said: “I am here because our government plans to licence 40 new UK oil and gas projects in the next few years.

“This makes them complicit in pushing the world towards an unlivable climate and in the death of billions of people in the coming decades.”

A few days ago, a group of supporters of Just Stop Oil stormed the track of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, before being removed by police.

A National Gallery spokesperson told ELN: “At around 2.15 pm yesterday afternoon, two people entered Room 34 of the National Gallery and glued themselves to the frame of The Haywain by John Constable (1821).

“They also covered the surface of the painting with three sheets of what appeared to be paper featuring a reimagined version of The Haywain.

“The pair wore t-shirts identifying themselves as ‘Just Stop Oil’ activists. Police attended and removed the protestors at around 4.40 pm and they were then arrested.

“The painting was removed from the wall to be examined by our Conservation team.

“The Haywain 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 10 am this morning.”

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