Extinction Rebellion protesters GLUE their hands to a priceless Picasso triggering a mass evacuation at one of Australia’s biggest galleries

  • A man, 59, and woman, 49, glued their hands to the frame of a Picasso painting
  • The pair were arrested after the midday stunt at the National Gallery of Victoria
  • Extinction Rebellion Australia organised the stunt as part of its spring calendar
  • The priceless painting, painted in 1951, was not damaged in Sunday’s protest

Two advocates from a climate protest group have been arrested after gluing their hands to a priceless piece of art, triggering an evacuation at one of Australia’s biggest galleries.

A 49-year-old woman and a 59-year-old man from Extinction Rebellion Australia (ERA) glued their hands to the glass of a framed painting by Pablo Picasso, titled Massacre in Korea, at midday on Sunday at the National Gallery of Victoria.

The pair stood either side of the 1951 piece each with a hand glued to the glass and  above a banner reading ‘climate chaos = war + famine’. 

‘Brave extinction rebellion climate protesters taking a stand at the Picasso exhibition at the NGV today – If you think this is disruption, note that climate chaos will cause war and famine,’ a supporter wrote on Twitter.

Two protesters from Extinction Rebellion Australia glued their hands to the glass frame of a Picasso painting in the National Gallery of Victoria

The pair livestreamed their actions as they attached themselves to the painting and began yelling. 

The stunt is the latest in the organisation’s calendar of disruptive demonstrations planned for its ‘Spring Rebellion ’22’. 

Sunday’s risky protest was not advertised on the calendar. 

‘A clear reflection of Picasso’s pacifist beliefs, “Massacre in Korea” shows the horrors of war through a depiction of the final moments of a group of women and children held at gunpoint by dehumanised soldiers,’ Extinction Rebellion wrote on Twitter.

‘The banner reads “Climate Chaos = War and Famine” highlighted the connection between climate breakdown & human suffering. 

Extinction Rebellion Australia are known for disruptive climate protests (pictured, protesters parade a burning koala through Melbourne)

ERA advocates previously burned the Australian flag outside a Melbourne Parliament House (above) as part of climate protests

‘According to David Attenborough, “If we continue on our current path, we will face the collapse of everything that gives us our security” – leading to conflict. 

‘No arts were harmed in the making of this action.’

Extinction Rebellion is notorious for its disruptive protests which has seen advocates burn the Australian flag outside parliament house, wheel a mechanical burning koala prop through Melbourne and hang off the side of the Brisbane Story Bridge in a hammock.

Upcoming events on the group’s spring calendar include protests at logging area, a parade, a ‘disruptive’ event in Melbourne’s CBD and a blockade of the Yarra River.

Police said the pair, alongside a 49-year-old man, were arrested at about 2pm and were assisting with enquiries. 

An art curator attended the scene of the protest to remove the advocates (above) without damaging the painting

The 49-year-old NSW woman and a 59-year-old Footscray man (above) were arrested and are assisting with enquiries

‘Police were called to the art gallery on St Kilda Road in Southbank after protesters glued themselves to a painting on Sunday 9 October,’ a spokesperson said.

‘It is believed three protesters entered the ground level of the gallery before a man and a woman glued themselves to a protective covering of a Picasso painting about 12.40pm.’

An art curator was called to make sure the pair could be removed without harming the piece. 

People attending the gallery’s Picasso exhibit were shocked by the protest. 

The two protesters (one pictured above) and a third man were arrested following the risky stunt

‘I’m at the Picasso exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria and just as I’m about to go up to his Weeping Woman some Extinction Rebellion protesters began yelling slogans and attached themselves to a painting in the next room!,’ one person wrote.

‘Had to vacate the Picasso exhibition along with everyone else due to protests & police activity…that’s enough excitement for one day,’ another said. 

However, commenters under the ERA’s livestream applauded the protesters.

‘Thanks to this brave pair for highlighting the climate catastrophe,’ one person wrote.

‘Thank you Rebels! Super brave action,’ another said.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted the National Gallery of Victoria for comment. 

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