Andy Warhol’s iconic pop-art Campbell Soup Cans have been targeted by activists trying to raise awareness about the climate crisis.
In one video obtained by Yahoo News Australia two women, aligned with the group Stop Fossil Fuel Subsidies, can be seen scribbling in blue across the glass housing the prints. The brief action occurred at 11am on Wednesday inside Canberra’s National Gallery of Australia.
“We’re in a climate emergency,” one of the activists, Bonnie, can be heard saying. She then glues herself to the beef soup print and her colleague Julie, who is wearing a dark top, targets mushroom soup. Julie then tries to highlight that the federal government subsidies the fossil fuel industry. But a large security guard stands in front of the camera.
At that point the video stops. Bonnie alleged to Yahoo News Australia her hand was then painfully ripped from the glass by security and her arm twisted.
The pair said they were then escorted from the premises before police arrived. ACT Police confirmed no arrests were made. The NGA confirmed the protest occurred and in a bid not to promote further action, issued no further comment. It did not respond immediately to a question about the alleged treatment of the activists.
Angry public response to ongoing climate action
The action is just the latest in a series of climate protests that use famous artworks to draw attention to the climate crisis. While the paintings and prints are not harmed in the process, such actions often draw outrage from the community.
“I would have left them (stuck) there for a week,” one person wrote on social media in response to activists glueing themselves to a Picasso painting at the National Gallery of Victoria last month. Another person simply wrote “D***heads”.
Bonnie highlighted that she decided to act a day after UN Secretary-General António Guterres issued a warning at COP27 about the impact of climate change.
Originally from NSW, Bonnie said "harsh" penalties introduced by the state government have made protests on Sydney streets more difficult. The mother of three said she is suffering from incurable cancer and spending her last days trying to protect the planet.
“Andy Warhol depicted consumerism gone mad in this iconic series,” she said in a statement. “And now we have capitalism gone mad. Families are having to choose between medicine and food for their children while fossil fuel companies return record profits.”
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