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Ottawa Museum Incident: Climate Activist Arrested for Splattering Paint on Artwork

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An activist affiliated with the climate protest group On2Ottawa has been taken into custody for allegedly vandalizing a painting by Tom Thompson at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) responded to the museum at approximately 12 p.m. local time on Aug. 29. The OPS stated that one man has been arrested and charged with mischief. The OPS also mentioned that additional charges may be filed as their investigation progresses. A video posted on On2Ottawa’s Instagram page shows a person, identified as Kaleb Suedfeld, smearing pink paint on a 1914 painting titled “Northern River” and attaching himself to the ground. The video includes a message from the activist group describing themselves as ordinary Canadians engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience to urge urgent government action on the climate crisis. The individual in the video blames fossil fuel industries for destroying the planet and criticizes the government for not stopping their actions. The act of vandalism is seen as a demonstration against the perceived inaction of the federal government on climate change. On2Ottawa announced that they will continue their disruptive activities in the nation’s capital for two more weeks as part of their nonviolent civil disobedience campaign. This incident follows a similar act of vandalism in March, when three climate activists from On2Ottawa defaced a mammoth statue with pink paint at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria. The group’s social media post claimed that the action was to protest the federal government’s inadequate response to the climate emergency. Two individuals claiming to be climate activists were also arrested in November last year for allegedly vandalizing an Emily Carr painting at the Vancouver Art Gallery. These incidents are part of a trend of climate activists engaging in acts of vandalism in museums around the world to draw attention to their cause.

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