Posted on: October 24, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Photo by Just Stop Oil via AP

By Aidan McGuire, Multimedia Editor

Climate protesters in London last week made a statement by throwing tomato soup at Vincent Van Gogh’s famous painting of sunflowers. Meanwhile, here at Moraine Valley, the Go Green Club was using art to make a statement in a different way.

Old egg cartons, bottles and newspapers were turned into creative masterpieces Wednesday in the U building as students stopped in the midst of scurrying to class to take part in the club’s recycled art creation contest.

Just four days earlier, two protestors from Just Stop Oil, an environmentalist group in the UK, threw soup at Van Gogh’s famous painting on display at the National Gallery. They used the historical piece of art as leverage in their protest against big oil and as part of their Just Stop Oil campaign. 

“What is worth more? Art or life?” asked Phoebe Plummer, one of the two protestors, after she superglued her hand to the frame of the painting. 

Photo By Just Stop Oil

Just Stop Oil hopes to make positive changes regarding fossil fuels and make society less reliant on these resources. The group spreads its message through many forms of protesting.

There have been several instances of climate protestors gluing their hands to famous paintings over the past year.

Another two protestors from Just Stop Oil performed a similar stunt with John Constable’s “The Hay Wain” in July, raising questions regarding the role art plays in environmental activism. 

“I feel like art is a great way to express individuals’ opinions on social justice issues and stuff like that,” Go Green Club member Malak Alomari said. “I feel it really makes a statement especially with historical pieces.

“The value of them culturally is valued over human life, and I kind of understand what they were doing with that, but I feel like there is a limit.”

Go Green’s faculty adviser, Tish Hayes, also said she understood the protestors’ motives.

“The climate is incredibly important and bringing attention to it is super important,” Hayes said. “I don’t know if that’s the most effective way to do it, but I admire the risks people will take to bring attention to the issue. I think art is one of those things that I think we should value, but so again I’m not sure if I agree with the methods, but I am definitely sympathetic to their passion.“

While Just Stop Oil is protesting with cans of soup and super glue, the Go Green club has been taking other forms of action to spark activism throughout campus on a local level. 

Recycled materials make an artistic statement in a Go Green Club contest.

“We just wanted to bring awareness to the club and just get people involved,” Hayes said. “Also, to do something creative with the materials we normally throw away. I think it’s a good way to show the value of the stuff we often think of as recyclable.”

The Go Green Club is always open to having new members and spreading awareness to the importance of keeping the environment clean and safe, without throwing soup on pieces of artwork, of course.

“Creating anything beautiful out of trash and reusing things is kind of the philosophy we want to have instead of buying tons of new things,” Hayes said.

Throughout the day, students came together to make recycled masterpieces and learn more about the club and ways they could get involved. The winners of the art contest will be announced this week.

“Hopefully, people can make something cool to take home, and hopefully, it will help more people get involved with the Go Green [Club],” said freshman club member Emily Stephens.