Art scene in Cardiff kicks back at Qatar’s human rights laws

The World Cup has prompted artists to install art in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community

Phil Morgan’s Lightbox promotes inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community. Image Credit: Phil Morgan.

New art installations in Cardiff have expressed solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community during the World Cup.

Due to FIFA’s decision to host the international football event in Qatar, football fans have raised concern regarding human rights.

This concern has prompted art such as Lightbox, a rainbow heart artwork, which Penarth mixed media artist Phil Morgan created as an icon of respect for the LGBTQ+ community.

The piece will be displayed at Chapter Arts Centre until January.

Bob Gelsthorpe, head of communications at Chapter, said Morgan’s art explores the nuance of the Welsh experience.

We want to […] provide a safe space for people to explore Welsh culture and creativity

Bob Gelsthorpe

“We have been supporting the success of the men’s football team and have used that as a platform for refugee and LGBTQIA+ voices,” said the 31-year-old.

He added: “We want to use the platform in a positive way and to provide a safe space for people to explore Welsh culture and creativity as part of the Gwyl Cymru Festival.”

The Gwyl Cymru Festival has been running since the start of November and has been celebrating Wales’ achievement of competing in the World Cup.

Lee Smith, 49, is a fanatic of street art and writes about and photographs street art in Wales on his website.

He said the street art from the World Cup this year has evoked a strong sense of identities.

“Phil Morgan’s rainbow hands has really captured an important message about the hosts of the tournament so far,” he said.

He hoped that “the amazing street art around Cardiff and the whole of Wales” will be remembered as much as the players themselves in years to come.

Lee Smith’s street art recommendations

Emiliano Sala Tribute – Created in 2019 by Oner Signs, this piece commemorates the life of 28-year-old footballer who lost his life in a plane crash.

World Cup celebration – To celebrate Wales’ football success this year, Steve Jenks painted the mural in Port Talbot. Smith describes the piece as being able to capture “every angle of Wales being in the Qatar World Cup.”

My City, My Shirt – This mural presents Wales as diverse while showing how to make it sport more accessible.