Activism or Stupidity?


Jasmine Kohli, Staff Writer

There are two sides to every story; everyone has a motive for their actions. In this example, two young activists from a climate protest group named “Just Stop Oil” threw a can of soup on the beloved Sunflowers of Vincent Van Gogh. They didn’t just stop at the oil; the two activists later went on to glue their hands on the gallery wall.

Why, one might ask? Simple; it was their way to reach out to the public to heed their message on climate change. The video of them committing the act has gotten the media’s attention, and the reviews are all over the place. Fortunately, the painting was protected and no real damage was done. But, many still wonder if this was an act of real activism or stupidity.

Within the negative reviews, many are criticizing the act as they disagree with the act of ruining a piece of history as a way to protest, especially since the art piece has no direct correlation to what they are preaching. This is exactly what the other side is saying, but in their eyes if the activists were to do the same thing with something that correlates to their fight, it wouldn’t be widely heard by the public.

Van Gogh is a world-renowned artist, and even non-art enthusiasts have been introduced to him. Therefore, when something happens to one of his most popular paintings, it becomes significant. This is exactly what the activists and their supporters were thinking; they knew that in the event the same message be spread in a different way (one in which a famous painting was not ruined), no one would pay attention.

In the end, the picture has no real damage done to it and the activists were later arrested. “Just Stop Oil” has not stopped spreading their message; they continue with roadblocks and tying themselves to goalposts, as forms of protest.