Qatar and Fifa World Cup: Artists Fight for Human Rights

Qatar and Fifa World Cup Caused the Emergence of Artistic Work, Drawing Attention to Migrant Workers and the Violation of Human Rights.

Nov 18, 2022By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Qatar and FIFA world cup
John Holmes, for Human Rights Watch


Qatar and Fifa World Cup met with a great deal of criticism. The World Cup is drawing hundreds of thousands of international visitors. It begins on 20 November. As a result, two artists from Qatar presented their work, showing the abuse of migrant workers’ human rights.


Qatar and Fifa World Cup Caused Over 6,500 Deaths

A necklace consisting of 6,500 minuscule skulls


Andrei Molodkin and Jens Galschiøtshowed through their work the treatment of workers, during the preparations for the tournament. Also, Andrei Molodkin, a Russian artist, created an alternate World Cup trophy. The trophy slowly fills itself with oil. It also draws attention to the “crude truth” regarding alleged corruption at Fifa.


“The work of art is on sale for $150m, the figure allegedly received by Fifa bosses over a 24-year period. Over 6,500 migrant workers died in the construction of Qatar’s World Cup Stadiums. Fifa bosses knew about the human rights of workers in Qatar, for them, oil money is more important than blood”, Molodkin said.


Getty Images


In 2015, key FIFA officials were arrested on corruption and bribery accusations. It all happened because of the decision to give Russia and Qatar the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Also, The New York Times reported in October that US authorities provided facts concerning money to five members of Fifa’s senior board. This was ahead of the 2010 vote to choose Russia and Qatar as hosts.

Get the latest articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up to our Free Weekly Newsletter


Molodkin and the Spanish football publication Libero designed the replica trophy. The trophy is available for purchase through the London-based art gallery a/political. It will be on display at their Kennington location on December 18th, coinciding with the tournament’s final.


6,500 Miniature Skull Necklace for 6,500 Deceased Migrant Workers

A migrant worker carries a pole at a construction site in the Qatari capital Doha on December 6. AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES


Jens Galschit, a Danish artist, created a necklace out of 6,500 miniature skulls. Every miniature skull represents the death of each migrant worker. A statement issued by Galschiøt’s workshop says: “According to Amnesty International’s report [in 2021] more than 6,500 migrant workers died. This is a direct result of building new infrastructure, like stadiums and roads for the World Cup.”


Galschiøt is in favor of Amnesty International’s push for Fifa to make amends for dead migrant workers’ families. “By presenting the bracelet on social media with the hashtag #Qatar6500, or by wearing the bracelet during official visits to Qatar, one makes a clear stand against human rights violations in Qatar”, adds the statement.


Galschit’s Pillar of Shame sculpture, which featured a horde of malformed bodies, was demolished at the municipal university in Hong Kong last year. The piece honors the 1989 atrocity that took place in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

Author Image

By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.