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28 October 2014

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Football Unites - Racism Divides

Private Cyrille by Colin Yates
Cyrille Regis opens a Colin Yates exhibition.
Football and art combine to highlight the problem of sport and racism - and to show how players have become the icons of our day.

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A Creative Ambitions Award from the Arts Council allows an artist time to develop new artwork using different processes, materials and techniques.

The Artist in Residence project was part of the Year of the Artist scheme 2000, and was funded by the National Lottery.

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Coventry artist, Colin Yates, manages to combine the two big passions in his life - art and football - with spectacular results.

Colin is a practising fine art printmaker. He gave up his job at Coventry School of Art to pursue several exciting projects.

 Paul Ince by Colin Yates
Charcoal drawing of Paul Ince - part of the Black Looks exhibition
His work has seen him become Artist in Residence for Leicester City Football Club, and he's been granted several arts awards, including a Creative Ambitions Award for a long-term project portraying the icons David Beckham and George Best.

The project will also mark the rise of the position of the professional footballer within society.

He's also formed correspondences with names like Cyrille Regis, "pioneer of Black football", and Steve 'Kalamazoo' Mokone who played for Coventry City in the 1950s and is a legend in Europe and South Africa.

Online gallery

Click the images button below to launch a gallery of some of Colin's work on these projects.

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A century of Black and Asian footballers

 Andrew Cole by Colin Yates
Screenprint of Andrew Cole
Golden Greats portrays a number of Great British footballers from the 1940s and 50s with a series of prints and football icons.

The format is linked to traditional Byzantine iconography.

'Black Looks' traces over a century of professional Black and Asian footballers in Britain through a series of portraits.

Colin's artwork forms both a historical and an educational resource for lectures and workshops regarding anti-racism in sport.

'Black Looks' has been shown in a number of prestigious solo exhibitions around the UK as well as the European Parliament in Brussels.

Beckham and Best

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Now that would be exciting - if both Beckham and Best turned up to the private view.
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Colin Yates - artist and football fan
Although his work has been exhibited all over the UK, Colin is yet to show his skills at a major venue in London - one of his biggest ambitions.

"The players at Leicester City and Northampton Town Football Clubs gave my work a good reception.

"I am currently looking for a venue for my Beckham and Best exhibition. Now that would be exciting if both turned up to the private view."

 Beckham Tribute by Colin Yates
Part of a tribute trio to David Beckham
Colin admits that some of his work has been bought by football professionals, but exactly who is a closely guarded secret.

Of his work as artist in residence, he said: "I was very excited to be part of this project and also to work at a premiere league football club.

"I approached Leicester City, mainly because of their strong community programme and serious attempts to stamp out racism. As an artist in residence, I had three main aims:

1. To develop the Black Looks project, featuring Leicester City players both past and present.

2. To develop my artwork, using new genres of work. I made huge innovations using computer graphics and neon signs.

3. To work at the club's Study Centre, Training Ground, Rushy Mead School and with the Asian Football Coach, Rashid Abba.

Educate through art

 Stan Collymore by Colin Yates
Stan Collymore goes neon
Colin has been a passionate football fan all his life and has supported Manchester United for well over 40 years.

He said: "As a youngster my passion for football was inspired by George Best and the 1966 England World Cup Winning team. Although I have always preferred to play or coach football than to watch."

"I hope the Black Looks project can make a serious contribution against racism in society. To educate through art."

More artwork

See more work by Colin by visiting his website, linked on the top left.

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