Two young women threw soup at Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ painting at the National Gallery this morning. The painting has an estimated value around $80 million, but is protected by a glass sheet.

The young women, supporters of the Just Stop Oil Coalition, glued their hands to the wall of the gallery, and shouted out to the shocked visitors why they had taken the action. They are demanding that the UK government immediately halt plans for new oil and gas exploration, and ask “What is worth more? Art or life? Is it worth more than food? More than justice?”.

Holding up the cans of soup they spoke about the connection between the cost of living crisis and the fossil-fuel driven climate crisis, with families here unable to afford to heat a tin of soup, while around the world monsoons, wildfires, famine and drought are destroying livelihoods and lives and crops.

The action marked the 14th day of disruptive protests by Just Stop Oil, while the government is pushing ahead with plans to launch 100 new oil and gas licences against the vast majority of scientific advice. Just Stop Oil is backed by a wide coalition of groups.

Real Meida covered a previous climate protest at the National Gallery when two people re-imagined Constable’s HayWain painting as a modern dystopia.

In June, the then Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng chose the eve of the Jubilee Bank Holiday to slip out an announcement he was awarding a controversial gas extraction licence for the ‘Jackdaw’ North Sea field, prompting a declaration of civil resistance.

The heads of both the International Energy Agency and the UN have warned western countries and corporations not to continue with NEW gas and oil exploration but the UK government is certainly not heeding the message.

Thanks for opening footage courtesy of Rich Felgate