Activists Throwing Soup On van Gogh’s Painting Made Me Think Twice



By Cassie Ames

Recently, you might have seen on the news, that two protesters in London’s National Art Gallery took a can of soup and threw the contents onto Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers “painting. This act shocked their audience and quickly blew up on social media not long after.

Next, the protesters superglued their hands to the wall and began to give a speech. They start by saying, “What is worth more, art or life?”

They begin to ask the audience if the protection of art is worth more than the protection of the environment or human life.

I will admit that when I first saw the video pop up on my feed, it shocked me. Once they started to speak, I realized that I was more shocked about the painting than I was about the words and what they meant.
That spoke volumes to me, and I quickly refocused my attention on what they were saying.

Like any other person who saw them throwing the soup onto the painting, I was immediately upset that someone would do that to such a treasured piece of art. After I realized it was done for a reason, I could not help but question myself about why vandalizing a valuable painting had more of a shock factor than the fact that our planet is being damaged and killed as we speak.

It upsets me a little that people are putting these activists on blast for doing this to the painting and the supposed “countering” of their point by using soup to begin with, but I think it was all done intentionally.

I do not think they messed anything up. The fact that they chose such a famous painting gave that immediate shock factor, knowing that it would be protected.

I wonder why people choose to ignore climate issues. Is it because it is too scary and too hard to think about? Either way, it forces the viewers of this scene to question themselves and puts them into a bit of a moral quandary about which they truly value more. It makes them think about it.

It makes me sad that people are choosing anger instead of listening to the activist’s message. I understand why people would get upset, but I also feel like their anger and the way all the attention is on the painting and not on the problem is very telling. In the end, I feel like nothing achievable will come from either side of this heated topic.

While the activists are trying to bring a message to the public, the public instead shuts them down and carries on ignoring the remaining issue. People often do not want to see or face the issue until it is right in their faces and too late.

1 thought on “Activists Throwing Soup On van Gogh’s Painting Made Me Think Twice

  1. The problem is the hypocrisy of the activists themselves. Telling everyone to stop using oil, while they themselves did to reach the location of the painting. Complaining that so many people can’t even afford food, while wasting food themselves. Perhaps the most ironic bit about such a protest is the use of a cellphone that is a product of slave labor. I personally think that most people acknowledge the climate crisis at hand, but why should we praise those who can’t even keep their own hypocrisies in check? The self awareness to do so, and the understanding of the nuances of this crisis is an essential thought process moving forward. As much as we need to get away from using oil, the ramifications of doing so will effect EVERY SINGLE ASPECT OF OUR LIVES.

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