Supporters of Just Stop Oil have once again glued themselves to a significant artwork in a major UK gallery, a day after invading the track at Silverstone and disrupting the British Grand Prix.
Just before 2.30pm, two young supporters of the campaign stepped over a rope barrier keeping the public at the National Gallery in London a safe distance from The Hay Wain, by John Constable.
They covered the 1821 oil painting with a dystopian reimagining of its bucolic scene, before supergluing themselves to its ornate gilt frame, prompting staff to evacuate the room of the assembled art lovers, tourists and schoolchildren.
Hannah Hunt, 23, from Brighton, who was sat beneath the painting wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “Just stop oil”, said: “I’m here because our government plans to license 40 new UK oil and gas projects in the next few years.
“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.”
Eben Lazarus, 22, also from Brighton, said the reimagined version of the painting “illustrates the impact of our addiction to fossil fuels on our countryside”. In Just Stop Oil’s version, the river is replaced by a road, smoke pours from factories on the horizon and the famous Hay Wain cart is laden with an old washing machine.
A Metropolitan police spokesperson said: “At approximately 14.25 on Monday, 4 July, officers were called to a protest taking place inside the National Gallery, WC2 involving two people.”
Last week supporters of Just Stop Oil caused disruption in Glasgow, Manchester and London by gluing on to the frames of famous paintings including Van Gogh’s Peach Trees in Blossom, Thomson’s Aeolian Harp by JMW Turner and My Heart’s in the Highlands by Horatio McCulloch.
The National Gallery action came a day after five men and two woman were arrested after invading the track at Silverstone during the opening lap of the British Grand Prix.
The incident was not shown on F1’s global television feed, but footage emerged of five people entering the circuit at the high-speed Wellington Straight. They then sat down on the tarmac, according to the PA Media news agency.