Van Gogh Got Souped

English activists vandalize Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ | Source:

When Van Gogh painted his famous Sunflowers, he probably didn’t envision it one day coated in a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup. On Oct 14, however, that’s exactly what happened.

At 11 am, activists Phoebe Plummer and Anna Holland, ages 21 and 20, respectively visited London’s National Gallery. After making it past security, the pair shed their coats to reveal their “Just Stop Oil” campaign t-shirts. After entering room 43 of the gallery, they stood in front of Sunflowers, popped open a can of tomato soup, and chucked the bisque onto Van Gogh’s art.

The painting, fortunately, was protected by a glass covering and is unharmed–though the wooden frame suffered minor damage.

Following a collective gasp from those in the room, the activists went on to step over the velvet rope divider, kneel down, and glue their palms to the wall under the painting.

As reporters and bystanders surrounded the pair, Phoebe Plummer gave the monologue as follows:

“What is worth more, art or life? Is it worth more than food? More than justice? Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting or the protection of our planet and people? The cost of living crisis is part of the cost of [the] oil crisis, fuel is unaffordable to millions of cold, hungry families. They can’t even afford to heat a tin of soup.”

The Gallery staff quickly thereafter cleared the room and police were called. Plummer and Holland were taken into custody under the charges of “criminal damage and aggravated trespass.”

The UK-based Just Stop Oil activist group was founded on Feb 14, 2022, with the mission to rapidly transition to “a low energy and low carbon world,” through shocking peaceful protests.

The duo’s Van Gogh incident was not a unique case, though. With Just Stop Oil members across the UK, the activist group has executed other protests such as having members blockade 10 central oil facilities in South East England, sitting down on the tarmac at the 2022 British Grand Prix, and blocking seven gas stations in Central London and vandalizing the pumps.

It seems as though Just Stop Oil is not stopping there. Demanding the UK government immediately halt all “future licensing and consents for the exploration, development, and production of fossil fuels in the UK,” some may argue a cold-turkey approach is not the way to go.

What about the millions of workers in the oil and gas industry who would find themselves out of a job? Does the UK have enough sources of nonrenewable energy to sufficiently fuel the country without fossil fuels?

To watch Sunflowers get souped, click here.

For more information, visit Just Stop Oil’s FAQ page: