LONDON: A sculpture of the coat of arms of the British royal family, created with the blood of four Afghans, is to be “projected” onto the walls of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London by Russian artist Andrei Molodkin to protest Prince Harry’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan.
The prince’s recent memoir “Spare” caused significant controversy after he said in it that he had killed 25 Taliban fighters while serving as an attack helicopter pilot.
He added that the figure was “not a number that fills me with satisfaction, but nor does it embarrass me,” and that he had thought of the fatalities as akin to taking “chess pieces.”
At the time, the claims prompted a backlash from many inside and outside Afghanistan, with the Taliban saying he should be put on trial.
Prince Harry later said the idea that he had boasted about killing Afghans was “a dangerous lie.”
Molodkin told Sky News that four Afghans currently based in the French city of Calais had voluntarily given their blood for the artwork, that five others living in the UK would donate more blood for it at a later stage, and that they, like him, were “very, very angry” about what the prince had written.
“They read they are just ‘chess figures’ ... for some prince hunting by helicopter,” Molodkin said. “It looked like a safari situation. How he told it, for him it’s like a computer game.”
Molodkin added that the aim was to “drench St. Paul’s Cathedral in the blood of Afghani people,” and that video footage of the prince would also be displayed.
Explaining how the art worked, he said: “Blood will go in the royal coat of arms, it will circulate in there. It will be projected ... on to the cathedral — so all the cathedral will be in the blood of Afghani people.”
Molodkin said he would also try to bring blood into the cathedral, adding: “It’s a cathedral — it’s for everyone. Everyone can come there and pray. Donating blood, it’s kind of a way of praying.” He has not sought the cathedral’s permission.
He said he has worked with human blood as a creative medium for 15 years, adding that it symbolizes power. “Then, the people who are abused by this power, I ask them to donate blood for this,” he said.
Molodkin’s solidarity with the Afghan people stems from his time in the Soviet Union, where he served as a soldier during his country’s occupation of Afghanistan.
“Even in the army, you’re scared to participate in the shooting of others … you’re very stressed,” he said of his experiences. “But (Harry) thinks it’s a video game.”
Molodkin lives in southern France after creating an art installation involving blood donated by Ukrainian soldiers depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin. “I can’t go back to Russia,” he told Sky News.