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Art & Culture

Glasgow Activists’ Protest Against Cost of Living Crisis

  • Grace Angelique
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  • March 8, 2024
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  • 3 minute read
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Glasgow Activists’ Protest Against Cost of Living Crisis

Activists in Glasgow target Queen Victoria sculptures to protest against the rising cost of living and food insecurity, highlighting the severity of the crisis.

Key Takeaways
  • Activists defaced Queen Victoria sculptures with porridge, jam, and soup to protest the cost of living crisis.
  • The protests aimed to draw attention to food insecurity and demand action from supermarkets and the government.
  • No permanent damage was caused to the artifacts, and the actions have sparked widespread discussion on the issues raised.

The Protest Acts

Sorcha Ní Mháirtín and Hannah Taylor, members of “This Is Rigged,” activists poured porridge and jam on a marble bust of Queen Victoria and wrote the rude word “cunt” on its base at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery. In a related protest, activists sprayed fire extinguishers filled with soup at the bronze statues of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at George Square, using these actions to highlight concerns about the current food and economic crisis​.

Motivations Behind the Protest

The group “This Is Rigged” carried out protests to draw attention to the increasing difficulties people face due to high living costs and limited access to food. Sorcha Ní Mháirtín, an activist, highlighted their concern over returning to poor living conditions similar to the Victorian era, with diseases caused by lack of nutrition becoming more common. Their demands include lowering the price of baby formula to March 2021 levels and establishing a community food hub for every 500 households in Scotland.

Reactions and Outcomes

Following the protests, both activists were charged with breach of the peace but were released with a court date set for a later time. Glasgow Life, the charity operating the city’s museums, temporarily closed the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum for cleanup but reported no permanent damage to the artifacts. They successfully restored the bust and the area of the defacement​.

Criticism and Support

The actions taken by This Is Rigged have sparked a wide range of reactions, from criticism for potentially harming art to support for raising awareness about food insecurity and the cost of living crisis. The group argues that the potential harm to the sculptures is negligible compared to the ongoing damage to communities from the crisis. They emphasize the importance of drawing attention to these issues, even if it requires unconventional methods​.

In summary, the protests at Glasgow’s Queen Victoria sculptures highlight the fight against high living costs and food scarcity. Activists chose these historical symbols to spark dialogue on present-day food access and economic inequality, using their bold acts to draw attention to the urgent issues many face today. Their controversial methods reflect the lengths some are willing to go to spotlight these significant challenges.

Grace Angelique

Grace Angelique

An accomplished Art News Journalist with a decade of experience, Grace has covered global art events, exhibitions, and emerging trends. Her work has graced major publications, offering readers a fresh perspective on contemporary art and its evolving landscape.

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