Part 1 of this story can be found here.
In confinement, Phoebe Plummer fumed. Why them? Why was their only voice forced to demand action?
They didn’t like to upset ordinary people, but with the government’s inaction, they saw no alternative. All they really wanted was to go back to college and hang out with friends as if nothing had happened…but not when the fate of society was so uncertain.
“It’s not what I should have do in my 20s,” Plummer recalled from then on, “but we had to. Because if they keep going with these fossil fuel licenses, I don’t have much beyond my twenties. If we don’t change now, we will experience societal collapse.
To wait to be freed from the cell was rather to be freed from the purgatory of climatic danger.
If only the government could just suspend all new fossil fuel licenses. Then the disturbance would end.
“One of the things we’ve learned is ‘oh, unemployed teenagers have nothing better to do with their time,'” Plummer explained, “I really have much better places I’d rather be than in this custody cell. But frankly, it’s the only place I box be.”
Holland’s attorney (a legal representative) visited the holding cell to discuss the charges. The representative officially informed them that the painting had not been damaged at all, which meant that the criminal damage charges could not be brought before the High Court. Only damage over £5,000 qualifies… and the National Gallery has so far placed no value on the soup incident.
Holland also officially learned the painting was worth £86million.
“So what?” Holland thought sardonically, “What exactly is an £86 million painting good for when we have parents starving themselves to feed their children? I’m sure NHS nurses who use food banks are so thrilled that an 86million pound painting is OK.
What a world, where millionaire art collectors could spend so much on a painting while ordinary people suffered. Where were the elites to stop fossil fuels?
“Essentially, our cost of living crisis was created by those rich people,” Holland realized, “by that upper class of people who can afford to put millions of pounds on a single painting in their house.
Maybe it was because the climate crisis wouldn’t impact them.
“They’re fine,” Holland reflected. “They will be the ones who get the food we fight for. They are the ones who are going to have their energy siphoned out of our homes and given to them during power outages…they don’t care about us. We have seen it time and time again with the way these billionaire oil tycoons guide our politicians and the way they guide our political sphere. They only care how they can increase that insignificant number in their bank account.
Following their release, Holland and Plummer learned of a new reported estimate for the painting. Sunflowers was now valued at £94m. It appeared that the activism had increased the value of the artwork by £8million.
The museum could not confirm the total current value of the painting.
“As the National Gallery incident is now the subject of criminal proceedings, we do not think it appropriate to add anything further at this time,” a press officer wrote in a brief statement.
The official verdict is that there was “minimal damage to the frame”.
“I think the National Gallery owes us 8 million,” laughed Holland.
“I really want some of that,” Plummer replied.
The painting was already on display again. It had been returned to the wall at 4:30 p.m. on the day of the incident.
But as the moment passed, the debate raged on.
Part 3 will be released on Thursday, November 10.