Environmental activists have glued themselves to a copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper painting, shutting down part of the Royal Academy art gallery in a demonstration over fossil fuels.
“No New Oil” has been spray-painted below the eight-meter artwork, while five protesters have glued their hands to its frame at the London gallery.
The Just Stop Oil group is known for disrupting roads and locking themselves to pipes in oil terminalsand this past week has targeted art institutions.
The five protesters remained attached on Tuesday afternoon, the Royal Academy said.
Police have been called to the scene.
Former primary school teacher Lucy Porter, 47, is among the five activists who have glued themselves on, according to Just Stop Oil.
“When I was teaching, I brought my students to great institutions like the Royal Academy,” she said.
“But now it feels unfair to expect them to respect our culture when their government is hell-bent on destroying their future by licensing new oil and gas projects.
“We have no time left, to say that we do is a lie.”
Ms Porter called for all new oil and gas exploration to stop, pledging that the group “will stop disrupting art institutions as soon as the government makes a meaningful statement to do so”.
She added: “Until then, the disruption will continue so that young people know we are doing all we can for them. There is nothing I would rather be doing.”
Read more: More than 200 arrests as climate activists disrupt key terminals for third day
‘A world where I have no future’
The Last Supper copy, which was painted by one of the Italian virtuoso’s students Giampietrino in around 1520, shows the biblical scene in which Jesus announces that one of his Twelve Apostles will betray him.
Unlike some earlier depictions of the Last Supper, da Vinci does not give all the apostles halos except for Judas, but instead casts his face into shadow to distinguish him from his fellow Apostles.
Art student Jessica Agar, 21, one of the five activists identified by the group, said: “No painting is worth more than my six-month-old nephew’s life.
“No sculpture can feed babies starving because extreme heat killed food crops.
“Nurses are lining up outside food banks, not galleries.
“I am an art student, but there is no place for me to follow my calling as an artist in a world where I have no future.”
A spokesperson for the Royal Academy confirmed that five people had entered the institution’s Collection Gallery and glued themselves to The Last Supper painting’s frame.
“The room has been closed to the public. The police have been called upon the protestors’ request”, the spokesperson added.
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