Kristian Buus/In pictures via Getty Images
With a dab of glue and spray paint, protesters swung into action in a gallery at London’s Royal Academy of Arts to demand greater 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 paint Copy of The Last Supper by Leonardo and glued their hands to the frame of the work. The painting depicts the scene from the Bible when Jesus holds 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 has been attributed to Leonardo da Vinci’s student Giampietrino, and painter Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio may have also worked on it.
Protesters who targeted the painting on Tuesday called on their country’s government to commit to immediately ending all new oil and gas licenses in the UK, according to video showing the protest. They also called on members of arts institutions across the country to support “peaceful civil resistance,” Just Stop Oil said in a statement.
This is just the latest action in a series of other actions by the British group. Activists from the same organization have recently glued themselves to a painting in Glasgow, a painting by Vincent Van Gogh in London, a painting at the Manchester Art Gallery and another at the National Gallery in London.
Last weekend, six other activists from the same group were arrested following a protest on the track of a Formula 1 race at England’s Silverstone circuit, according to the BBC.
The group says it is turning to such public protests to pressure world leaders to adhere to pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming.
World leaders had agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100. Scientists say the most catastrophic effects of global warming can be averted if successful, but the world is not on track to achieve this goal.
“We have no more time, to say that we do is a lie. We need to stop all new oil and gas right now, we will stop disrupting arts institutions as soon as the government makes a meaningful statement to do so,’ said Lucy Porter, 47, a former primary school teacher from Leeds who took part at the demonstration. a statement provided by Just Stop Oil. “Until then the disruption will continue so young people know we are doing everything we can for them. There is nothing I would rather do.”
The Royal Academy of the Arts did not immediately return NPR’s request for comment. It is not known if the painting sustained any damage as a result of the protest.