Op-Ed: Is smearing food on the ‘Mona Lisa’ a productive form of climate change protest?
Is smearing food on the ‘Mona Lisa’ a productive form of climate change protest?
It was quite the sight, a food protest.
An Israeli artist used a spray can of coffee as a paintbrush to smudge the famous “Mona Lisa” with chocolate, cinnamon and cloves.
The protesters at the “Mona Lisa” event in the heart of Tel Aviv were part of a campaign called Dafna — which means “hope” in Hebrew. The event attracted national and international attention, and was even picked up by the BBC News website.
The artwork’s message was simple — “Change, Change, Change!”
The protest raised more than a few eyebrows in Israel because of the artist’s use of a toxic substance such as coffee, and the fact that it was done in public — in this case, on the “Mona Lisa” (which is an iconic symbol of culture in the world). The use of a painting or artwork is not a peaceful protest — it can result in serious injury and serious damage. An estimated $10,000 worth of damage was done to the artwork. Even though the use of coffee was a controversial one — that has been well documented, and is not even the most controversial thing about it, which was the use of a paint spray.
The protest, however, was not without precedent in modern protest movements — from the early Green Movement protests in the 1970s, to the recent Occupy Wall Street movement in the U.S. to the global Occupy movement.
What makes this particular protest unusual, however, was the fact that the protest involved a coffee that the Israeli government was selling in Israel as a health and environmentally friendly substance — without labeling it. The protest was in response to the fact that the use of this