Anti-Oil Protesters Glue Themselves to Constable Painting at National Gallery

Protesters at the National Gallery in London glued themselves to John Constable’s The Hay Wain on July 4, after covering the rural scene with a reimagined version showing how they said oil has destroyed the English countryside.

Footage recorded by Just Stop Oil, a coalition of groups pushing for the UK government to end the production and licensing of new fossil fuel, shows protesters Hannah Hunt and Eben Lazarus glued to the transformed painting, the best-known work of Constable.

The National Gallery said there had been some minor damage to the painting’s frame and the varnish, both of which were fixed.

Last week, protesters from the same organisation glued themselves to artworks in Glasgow, Manchester, and London. Credit: Just Stop Oil via Storyful

Video Transcript

EBEN LAZARUS: We start to re-imagine version of The Hay Wain that demonstrates our road to disaster. It shows the destructive nature of our addiction to oil.

I first saw this painting when I was at school. It's an important part of our cultural history, our heritage, but it's not more important than the 3.5 billion people already in danger because of the climate crisis. It's not more important than the millions of people in this country already suffering because of the cost of living and fuel prices.

And it is not more important than the lives of my siblings and every generation that we are condemning to an unlivable future. From history, we must learn. We must learn that in the face of suffering and injustice, ordinary people can and must stand up and determine the future of humanity.

HANNAH HUNT: And yes, my hand is glued to this painting.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

HANNAH HUNT: But there is blood on the hands of our government.

- Everybody, go out!

- Everybody, go out, please! Can you go out, please? Everybody, please.

HANNAH HUNT: [INAUDIBLE]

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- Come on. Everybody, single out. Come on.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

HANNAH HUNT: [INAUDIBLE] to oil, which projects 50 million people, men, women, and children, in countries like India and Madagascar [INAUDIBLE] nation.

- Everybody out, please! Everybody, everybody, out!

- Please, everyone, can you move, please. Can you move, please? Everyone, please go!

HANNAH HUNT: [INAUDIBLE]

- Come on, everyone. Come on.

HANNAH HUNT: [INAUDIBLE] right now. What is more priceless? [INAUDIBLE]

- Can you move, please? Everybody, can you move, please?

- Everybody out!

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- Please go.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- Let's go! Please go!

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