Young supporters of Just Stop Oil glue themselves to a painting at Glasgow art gallery

Three young supporters of Just Stop Oil have sprayed paint around the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow and two have glued themselves to the frame of a painting, as they call for the government to end new oil and gas and for art institutions to join them in civil resistance.

The painting is a 19th century landscape painting by Horatio McCulloch called ‘My Heart’s in the Highlands’.

Emma Brown, 30, a graduate from Glasgow School of Art said

“I am taking this action because art is about telling the truth and connecting to our deepest emotions. But right now, when we need them most – art institutions are failing us. They seem to think it’s enough to put on an exhibition about climate change rather than challenge the government’s genocidal plans to allow new oil and gas.  This is unacceptable, it’s not enough to be informed as citizens, we need to be active.

“If you are more angry about the action than about mothers dying of heat stroke in India leaving orphaned babies crying for breastmilk, or about the millions of families in the UK struggling to buy food because of fossil fuel profiteering by the rich then you need to get your priorities straight. What is more priceless? This piece of art or your children’s life? There can be no new fossil fuel projects, it’s insanity and greed.”

Hannah Torrance Bright, 20, a student from the Glasgow School of Art said:

“I’m an artist, I love art, but instead of spending my time making art I’m taking actions like this, spending time in and out of cells, and being punished by our legal system for begging the government to let my generation have a future.  We hold these works of art sacred, but what is more sacred than life itself? 

You should be outraged at this action – I’m outraged because I feel I have no choice but to resist the government’s genocidal plans. Imagine how outraged you’ll feel when your loved ones are dying in extreme weather events while the government continues to protect oil companies rather than its citizens. So feel outraged, and then take action. We cannot stand by.”

Carmen Lean, 28 , an Glasgow architecture student said:

“This landscape was painted in 1860 at the height of the highland clearances, when whole crofting communities were evicted by a new class of landlords ruthlessly pursuing their own private interests. It was only when crofters organised and resisted that they won rights.”

“Today it’s oil and gas companies who are ruthlessly pursuing their own private interests at the expense of literally everybody. They are endangering everyone. We must learn from the history of Scottish crofters on how to fight back effectively. 

I urge anybody listening, including public institutions, professional bodies, and concerned citizens to step up and play your part. Now is not the time for complacency. Civil disobedience is scary but it is the only sane thing to do and you won’t regret it.” 

The action comes as the UK Climate Change Committee, the government’s independent advisory body on climate policy, releases its 2022 progress report to parliament. The report finds “major failures in delivery programmes towards the achievement of the UK’s climate goals”. 

Lord Debden writes “ this Progress Report reveals that, despite important achievements in renewable energy and electric vehicles, the Government is failing in much of its implementation. Sharply rising fuel costs should have given added impetus to improving energy efficiency, yet the necessary programmes are not in place. We are still building new homes that do not meet minimum standards of efficiency and will require significant retrofitting. Not only are we waiting for the promised Future Homes Standard but there is as yet no sign of the changes in the planning system necessary to reflect Britain’s legal obligations for climate mitigation.” [1]


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Notes to Editors

[1] UK Climate Change Committee: news release, Progress Report