International Museum Day

International Museum Day

Year-round Festival Series 16  – International Museum Day – Throwing Tomato Juice at an Artwork?


Life is more important than art!

So that’s why art is important.

-James Baldwin, American author


Since May 2022, many of the more radical social movement environmental groups, such as Stop Oil in the UK and The Last Generation in Germany and Italy, have launched restrained attacks on world-famous artworks in museums across Europe, such as throwing tomato juice and mashed potatoes on the protective glass of artworks, in order to raise public awareness of the problem of new oil extraction and the potential global catastrophe of the planet’s massive climate refugees in the next 50 years.

Following a series of attacks on museums around the world, a coalition of internationally renowned museums, led by the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain, issued a statement emphasising that museums are a social institution whose core mission is to preserve, study, and share works of art that are significant to the times, and that museums are free spaces for social exchange. The museums emphasised that they and the protesters were not enemies of each other.

The environmental groups’ charge to the museums is:

Is life or art more important?

This thought-provoking question leads one to consider whether the value of living human beings is more valuable than the dead objects – the artworks – in museums.

We are not enemies of each other

Every year since 1977, museums around the world have celebrated International Museum Day on May 18. The event is organized by the International Council of Museums (ICOM), which aims to raise awareness of the cultural industries of museums and to make museums a place where effective cultural conservation and social exchange can take place. As of last year, over 37,000 museums in approximately 158 cities and regions participated in the event.

The theme of this year’s International Museum Festival is “Museums, Sustainability and Well-being,” with the expectation that museums will serve as institutions that society trusts to support the climate movement, promote inclusiveness and resolve social conflicts, while hopefully improving the well-being of citizens.

The theme of this celebration can be seen as a response to the efforts of environmental groups to defend the Earth’s ecosystem in recent years.


“You read something which you thought only happened to you,
and you discover that it happened 100 years ago to Dostoyevsky.
This is a very great liberation for the suffering, struggling person, who always thinks that he is alone.
This is why art is important.
Art would not be important if life were not important, and life is important.”

― James Baldwin, Conversations with James Baldwin



✍🏼 Write + Create 

Elva Lai is a passionate and determined artist. She loves reading, learning, travelling, hiking and drinking coffee in the morning. Elva received her education in Hong Kong, USA and Germany.

FB: Light House Studio 

IG: @Lighthouse0307


Authorised reposting, the post only represents the author’s opinion.

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