Ed Gray Art



Gugulethu Strike

Gugulethu Strike, Gugulethu  Township, Cape Town


I was asked to make some work about the build up to the World Cup in South Africa for the 2010 FIFA International Art Collection. My brief was to paint a picture that captured the essence of the beautiful game and the importance of the 2010 World Cup to South Africa. I found a city hastily preparing for the event and all that it would entail.  I travelled to one of the largest Townships, Gugelethu to watch a minor league match. The warmth and passion of the people I met inspired the painting ‘Gugulethu Strike’.

This is a big moment for South Africa and the wider continent and a lot of emotion and expectation hangs in the air. I tried to capture the sense of limbo that I felt the country was in as they prepared for the World Cup with the floating, surfing and dancing figures and the shark like defenders. The match could go either way as the goalie attempts to cradle the ball which depicts a map of Africa in shadow. Heads and necks are on the line, drama and tension are heightened.  The crowd erupts, blowing their Vuvuzelas in anticipation. Others turn away in disgust, unable to see a goal conceded. A fan nervously chews matches, one match falls away to the field. A player prays for salvation. Football is everything here. It is a matter of life and death.


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