Wham Bam Thank You Mam Suffragette Painting Smashed by Just Stop Oil
Hanan, 22, and Harrison, 20, used safety hammers to smash the glass covering, then addressed the gallery, “Women did not get the vote by voting; it is time for deeds not words. It is time to Just Stop Oil.” They added, “Politics is failing us. It failed women in 1914 and it is failing us now. New oil and gas will kill millions. If we love art, if we love life, if we love our families we must Just Stop Oil.”
The Rokeby Venus was famously slashed in the National Gallery by the suffragette Mary Richardson in 1914. Richardson left seven slashes on the painting, causing particular damage to the area between the figure’s shoulders, however, all were successfully repaired. Richardson’s action was in resistance to the UK government’s imprisonment of Emmeline Pankhurst at the time. She explained her actions after the incident- “I have tried to destroy the picture of the most beautiful woman in mythological history as a protest against the Government for destroying Mrs. Pankhurst, who is the most beautiful character in modern history.”
A Just Stop Oil spokesperson commented, “Emmeline Pankhurst once said ‘The argument of the broken window pane is the most valuable argument in modern politics.’ Disappointingly little has changed since 1914. From governments destroying the most beautiful character in history, to governments destroying our home, our families and our institutions in order to enrich criminal oil barons and corporations. The only thing that has ever stood in their way is ordinary people, taking to the streets to demand change. We invite everyone to join us.”
Hanan, who’s wielding the hammer on the right, a 22 year old student from London says, “Over 100 years ago, the suffragette Mary Richardson attacked the Rokeby venus portrait for the unjust imprisonment of Emmeline Pankhurst. Today I have used similar methods in the fight for climate justice. As a kid I saw myself growing up to be an astronaut or a singer. I saw a future, however ridiculous it was. Now, those day-dreams have ended. The future we are heading for doesn’t allow space for them anymore. It’s always been down to ordinary people to tell their governments when they’ve crossed a line. Civil resistance worked for the suffragettes and it will work for us.”
Harrison Donnelly, who’s wielding the hammer on the left, a 20 year old student from Nottingham says, “Emmeline Pankhurst said ‘you have to make more noise than anybody else, you have to make yourself more obtrusive than anybody else, you have to fill all the papers more than anybody else.’ The suffragettes are proof these methods work to achieve social change. That is why we have taken this action today. New oil will destroy everything we love. I do not want to be here, but I cannot continue to see this government fail all of us.”
Just Stop Oil are part of the a22 Network, a global network for civil resistance across 10 countries. Just Stop Oil are demanding the government immediately halt all new oil and gas projects in the UK.
For more information on this action, see the Just Stop Oil press release, here
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“What are our responsibilities at this time? Because of the fossil fuel industry, we are facing horrors of a magnitude never before experienced in our existence. Our government continues to lead us to the edge of no return. We must stand up and defend ourselves. No one else is going to do it. It must be us, if we want to live.
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