The Mona Lisa Gets A Makeover

On Sunday morning, January 28th, 2024, at the Louvre in Paris, two people threw bright orange, pumpkin soup at one of the world's most famous artworks. A video captured the moment it happened. Gasps and groans can be heard from others in the gallery. The two supporters of Riposte Alimentare (or Food Response, also called Food Counterattack in the media) then crossed under the barrier and stood in front of the painting, calling out to those gathered around. 

“What is more important: art or the right to a healthy and sustainable diet?” one of the activists called out. "Your agricultural system is sick. Our farmers are dying at work!"

Staff quickly moved into action by bringing large black screens to block the view of the audience and the cameras, but it was too late. The moment was already sure to create an international firestorm of attention.

After arresting the two supporters of Food Response, the staff cleared the room, cleaned the soup off the glass, and reopened the gallery again later in the morning.

Food Response emerged out of the group which was called Last Renovation or Derniere Renovation. Last Renovation was demanding an energy renovation plan for buildings throughout 2022-2023. Now, they are a nonviolent civil resistance group with the goal of securing a Sustainable Food Social Security in France. That is, they are asking the government to do the following:

  1. Provide a food card: 150 euros per month per person to buy contracted sustainable food products.
  2. A contribution system that guarantees a fair and equal distribution, as with Social Security
  3. A list of products able to be purchased with the food card. It should be chosen in a democratic way, by local citizens' assemblies, with training on agricultural and ecological issues.
  4. Access to healthy food in a way that treats the poor and marginalized with dignity.

The group highlights the fact that 1 in 3 people in France skip at least one meal per day, that 1 person commits suicide in France every day, and that there was a 10-30% decrease in agricultural yield in some sectors in France, and that there are more shocks to the food system to come due to the climate catastrophe.

 

About the Mona Lisa action, France's Minister for Culture, Rachida Dati, said the following on Twitter: "The Mona Lisa, like our heritage, belongs to future generations. No cause can justify it being targeted!"

The Minister fails to acknowledge that at present we are on a course which may lead to total social breakdown and no future generations being able to survive on the planet. If that doesn't justify a little soup thrown on glass covering an inert piece of art, then our understanding of art has failed.

Isn't one child's life more valuable than a painting? What about 1 million children's lives, what of 100 million? Shouldn't the purpose of art be to direct us back towards our own humanity, to question ourselves, refine our hearts and souls? Should it not be to become ever greater lovers of humankind? Instead, the love of art has been siloed in the minds of many. It is now about venerating dead images above all else, even when the world is burning, collapse is approaching and people are going hungry already.

The truth is that every radical and progressive movement and organization has its critics, detractors and even hate-mongers. However, it doesn't seem like that will be stopping Food Response any time soon.

Food Response is a member of the A22 Network for civil disobedience.

To donate to their campaign, please click here.

In Solidarity, Jon Tijerina

 

 

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Jon Tijerina

About

Jon Tijerina writes for the Daily Rebellion. He 's been arrested 14 times for civil disobedience to get government action on the climate crisis. He loves falafel, reading classics and spending time with good people. He lives in California.