Human blood is set to “drench” one of the UK’s most famous landmarks in a protest over Prince Harry’s controversial remarks about the number of people he killed in Afghanistan.
Russian artist Andrei Molodkin says he will project a sculpture featuring blood donated by Afghans on to St Paul’s Cathedral in the coming days, along with footage of the Duke of Sussex.
It comes after Harry faced criticism for revealing in his memoir that he killed 25 Taliban fighters while serving in Afghanistan, writing that it was “not a number that fills me with satisfaction, but nor does it embarrass me”.
The prince also admitted that he did not think of those he killed as “people”, but instead as “chess pieces” that had been taken off the board.
Molodkin told Sky News that Harry’s remarks had made him “very, very angry” and the idea of his project “is to drench St Paul’s Cathedral in the blood of Afghani people”.
“They read they are just ‘chess figures’… for some prince hunting by helicopter,” he said. “It looked like a safari situation.
“How he told it, for him it’s like a computer game.”
Blood ‘pumped’ into royal coat of arms
Molodkin said four Afghans in Calais had already given blood for the sculpture and another five Afghans in the UK will donate when the stunt is carried out before the end of March.
The artist said about 1,250ml of blood will be used for the artwork after being taken from donors by a registered nurse, kept in a fridge and then “pumped” into the sculpture of the royal coat of arms.
Explaining how the project will work, 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.”
Moldokin said a video featuring Prince Harry will also be projected on to the cathedral.
Artist will try to take blood from inside cathedral
Molodkin said he will attempt to take the Afghans’ blood inside the cathedral – where Harry’s parents, King Charles and Diana, were married – but he has not approached St Paul’s to seek permission.
“I think in the church, you can give the blood,” he said.
“It’s a cathedral – it’s for everyone. Everyone can come there and pray. Donating blood, it’s kind of a way of praying.”
Sky News approached St Paul’s Cathedral for comment but did not receive a response.
Molodkin, who used to serve in the Soviet Union’s army, said he explained to all the Afghan donors why they were giving blood.
Asked how they felt about Harry’s remarks, he replied: “I think they are very angry.”
He added: “Even in the army, you’re scared to participate in the shooting of others… you’re very stressed about. But he thinks it’s a video game.”
Artist cannot return to Russia over Putin sculpture
Molodkin, who now lives in the south of France, hit the headlines last year after he produced a sculpture featuring an image of Vladimir Putin that was filled with blood donated by Ukrainian fighters.
“Now I can’t go back to Russia,” he told Sky News.
He believes he would face jail for his artwork if he returns to his home country under its current laws.
“I can’t go there while [Putin] still has power but I truly believe it’s not possible to continue like this,” he added.
“People who kill so many people and start a blood war like this… and try to brainwash… can’t stay longer.”
The controversial artist who uses blood and oil to make his point
- To coincide with the World Cup in Qatar last December, Andrei Molodkin unveiled a replica of the World Cup trophy that slowly filled with crude oil. It had a symbolic price of $150m – a figure that matched the amount of money allegedly spent on bribes and kickbacks to FIFA officials
- Last August, Molodkin presented a sculpture of the White House that reportedly contained the radioactive blood of Nagasaki-born men to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs
- In May last year, Molodkin showcased a glass portrait of Vladimir Putin which was filled with the blood of Ukrainian soldiers. An image of the artwork was said to have been live-streamed near Moscow’s Red Square as Mr Putin oversaw Russia’s Victory Day parade
- Back in 2013, Molodkin opened an exhibition called Catholic Blood that featured an installation where he pumped blood donated solely by Catholics around his replica of the Rose Window at Westminster Abbey, which he saw as a Protestant symbol
Molodkin said he has “worked with human blood for 15 years” and the sculptures he creates “represent the symbol of power”, adding: “Then the people who are abused by this power, I ask them to donate blood for this”.
Biggest revelations from Harry’s memoir
Taliban bans women from universities
Harry’s comments in his book prompted criticism from senior military figures, with Admiral Lord West – the former head of the Royal Navy – reportedly calling the prince “very stupid” and warning he had increased the risk of threat against the Invictus Games.
Taliban officials called for Harry to be put on trial, with a senior leader in the group saying the militants he killed were “not chess pieces, they were humans”.
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In response to the criticism, Harry told Late Show host Stephen Colbert it was a “dangerous lie” to say he had “somehow boasted” about the number of people he killed in Afghanistan.
The duke carried out two tours in Afghanistan during his time in the military, including one tour between 2012 and 2013 when he served as an Apache attack helicopter co-pilot gunner.