Kristian Buus/In Pictures via Getty Images
Using some glue and spray paint, protesters at a gallery at London’s Royal Academy of Arts have taken action to call for more government action on climate change.
A group of at least five activists from the group Just Stop Oil spray-painted “No New Oil” under the painting Copy of Leonardo’s The Last Supper and taped their hands to the frame of the artwork. The painting shows the scene from the Bible when Jesus has his last supper with his twelve apostles and tells them that one of them will betray him. The 500-year-old copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece is attributed to da Vinci’s pupil Giampietrino, and the painter Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio may also have worked on it.
The protesters, who targeted the painting on Tuesday, called on their country’s government to pledge to end all new oil and gas licenses in Britain immediately, according to video showing the demonstration. They also called on members of the country’s arts institutions to support a “peaceful civil resistance,” Just Stop Oil said in a statement.
This is just the latest in a series of other moves by the British group. Activists from the same organization recently taped themselves to a painting in Glasgow, a Vincent Van Gogh painting in London, a painting in the Manchester Art Gallery and another in the National Gallery in London.
According to the BBC, six other activists from the same group were arrested last weekend after a protest at the track of a Formula 1 race at the Silverstone circuit in England.
The group says it is turning to such public protests to pressure global leaders to deliver on their promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions in a bid to curb global warming.
World leaders had agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100. Scientists say that if done right, the most catastrophic effects of global warming can be avoided, but the world is not on track to get there.
“We don’t have time anymore to say that we do is a lie. We must stop all new oil and gas wells immediately, we will stop disrupting arts institutions as soon as the government makes a meaningful statement about it,” Lucy Porter, 47, a former Leeds primary school teacher who attended the demonstration, said in a statement by Just Stop Oil. “Until then, the disruption will continue so young people know we are doing everything we can for them. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing.”
The Royal Academy of the Arts did not immediately respond to NPR’s request for comment. It is unclear if the painting was damaged by the demonstration.