Activists Throw Porridge and Spray-Paint “Cunt” on Queen Victoria Busts

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Sorcha Ní Mháirtín (left) and Hannah Taylor (right) glued themselves to the plinth of Queen Victoria’s marble bust after defacing it with spray paint, porridge, and jam on Sunday, March 3. (all images courtesy This is Rigged)

Two organizers affiliated with the Scottish climate and food insecurity activism group This is Rigged were arrested on Sunday afternoon, March 3, after defacing a marble bust of Queen Victoria at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. Calling attention to the cost-of-living crisis coupled with the current climate emergency, the activists poured jam and porridge over the royal bust and glued themselves to the plinth that one of them had spray painted the word “cunt” onto.

“We refuse to be dragged back to the Victorian era,” organizer Sorcha Ní Mháirtín, 30, said during the demonstration while Hannah Taylor, 23, slathered the porridge and jam onto the queen’s face. “Diseases of starvation including scurvy and rickets are on the rise. Freedom begins with breakfast and if you can’t understand that, we’ll shove it in your face. Food is a human right, and we call out the rotten systems under which we are suffering.”

Ní Mháirtín and Taylor were both arrested and charged with breach of peace before being released from custody early that evening, the group confirmed in an email to Hyperallergic.

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Two organizers from This is Rigged in Glasgow’s George Square standing before the hosed-down the statue of Prince Albert with emptied fire extinguishers once full of tomato soup

Two other organizers from This is Rigged staged another demonstration at the city’s George Square on Monday, March 4, during which they hosed down the statues of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert with fire extinguishers full of soup. Neither were arrested or charged as Police Scotland reportedly did not consider the incident an act of vandalism.

Glasgow Life, the entity responsible for the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, did not immediately respond to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.

This is Rigged specifically targeted renderings of the Royal family to highlight their exploitation and condemnation of the poor, particularly the paupers of Scotland and Ireland, during the Victorian era.

Beyond the escalating food-related demonstrations that demand media attention, This is Rigged underscores its demands for Scottish supermarkets to reduce their prices for baby products, particularly formula and diapers, back to 2021 figures as several reports indicate a minimum 24% price increase for formula especially over the last two years. As it stands right now, families in the United Kingdom are unable to use cash equivalents or vouchers to purchase formula at retailers due to legislative restrictions from 2007 that prevents advertising formula as a better alternative to breastmilk.

This is Rigged is also calling upon the Scottish government to begin funding community food hubs for every 500 households by referencing the Black Panther Party’s universal breakfast program among other radical food access efforts internationally, and have demanded a fair and funded transition for workers in the oil and gas industry to exit the field and find gainful employment amid the climate crisis.

The organization has vowed to escalate its actions until the government meets its demands.

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