‘Mona Lisa’ Gets Attacked With Soup To Make A Splash About Starvation
By Mikelle Leow, 30 Jan 2024
Video screenshot via Riposte Alimentaire
Waiter, there’s a Mona Lisa behind my soup. The world’s most recognizable painting, which has weathered centuries of fascination and intrigue, found itself at the center of a stunt to drive attention to the food security problem.
And no, this was not an Andy Warhol activation. In an attempt to stir the pot on sustainable agriculture and feeding months in France, an environmental group called Riposte Alimentaire, or Food Counterattack, took to the Louvre on January 28, 2024, with the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece as its attention-stealing canvas.
ð¦º ACTION EN COURS - PARIS— Riposte Alimentaire (@riposte_alim) January 28, 2024
Dimanche 28 janvier. 10h00
2 citoyennes engagées avec la nouvelle campagne Riposte Alimentaire ont aspergé de soupe le tableau “La Joconde” mondialement connu, exposé au Musée du Louvre. #RiposteAlimentaire #A22Network #Joconde #Louvre pic.twitter.com/wfdUhf6K5G
Armed with their convictions and a can of soup, activists Sasha, 24, and Marie-Juliette, 63, made a splash against the glass protector of the enigmatic subject.
“What’s the most important thing? Art, or the right to healthy and sustainable food?” they called out in French.
The women declared that the farming system was “sick” and that farmers were “dying at work.”
The soupy situation saw streaks of orange splattered across the bulletproof glass of the famous artwork.
Riposte Alimentaire is demanding a financial aid system where residents would receive €150 (US$162) monthly to purchase democratically selected, pre-approved products, be put into place.
As seen in footage, security personnel swiftly shielded the painting with black screens and escorted the activists out. Per the Associated Press, Paris police arrested two individuals involved in the demonstration.
Riposte Alimentaire defended its move as a “nonviolent” attempt to spotlight the dire situation of farmers and the global challenge of ensuring food security.
On X, formerly Twitter, the group pointed out the stark contrast in a country where one in three people skip meals due to financial constraints, yet 20% of produced food is wasted.
Riposte Alimentaire is part of the A22 collective, an umbrella that consists of other environmental activism groups like Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil, known for targeting art—including Da Vinci’s The Last Supper—to spread their messages.
The organization also criticized the pressures of mass distribution that force farmers to sell at a loss, highlighting the need for systemic change in how food is produced, distributed, and valued.
“Farmers are squeezed by the pressures of mass distribution, going so far as to make them sell at a loss,” it asserted.
In a statement, the Louvre revealed that the prized piece was targeted with pumpkin soup, and that it intends to lodge a complaint. The painting, however, remains unharmed.
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