Football heroes, memories and myths make new Wembley Park summer art exhibition unforgettable
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Football heroes, memories and myths make new Wembley Park summer art exhibition unforgettable
Luke Shaw, Football should be unforgettable, Curated by Alzheimer’s Society (Getty, FA). Photo: Chris Winter / Wembley Park.

LONDON.- Wembley Park has revealed details of two brand new public artworks being launched for summer 2023 as part of the area’s popular art trail. On public view across the North West London neighbourhood from the first week of July, the new artworks on display include an outdoor photo exhibition, titled ‘Football Should Be Unforgettable’, curated by Alzheimer's Society and produced by Wembley Park.

Paying tribute to the deep-rooted connection between Wembley Park and English football, the collection features three illuminated portraits of English football stars Jack Grealish, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw to help raise funds and awareness of Alzheimer’s Society’s work. On the large-format photographs, each footballer reflects on their earliest memories of falling in love with the beautiful game, sharing childhood photographs to feature in the display.

Images of other recipients of Alzheimer’s Society’s support, many who are living with dementia, also shared an item or photograph connected to their most precious memory of the game. The exhibition follows the recent announcement of improvements to Wembley Stadium, the home of English football, of which Alzheimer’s Society is a charity partner, and which has become the first national stadium to be dementia friendly.

Alex Hyde-Smith, Director of Income and Engagement at Alzheimer’s Society: “Football has created incredible moments on screens and in Stadiums for generations. From edge-of-your seat matches to the legends of the game, for fans across the country, it’s almost unthinkable that they would forget their most treasured football memories. But for the many fans who will go on to live with dementia, that is sadly the case.

“With 900,000 people living with dementia, enough to fill Wembley Stadium 10 times over, we are excited to be part of Wembley Park’s summer exhibition, as part of our partnership with The FA, to drive home how football should be unforgettable.

“We hope the powerful pictures beside the iconic stadium will inspire people to donate and support Alzheimer’s Society’s important work, so we can reach even more people through some of the hardest and most frightening times, and we can reach them sooner.”

Joining the photo exhibition is a new, site-specific artwork produced by internationally acclaimed artist Claire Luxton, renowned for her boundary-pushing exploration of self-representation through poetry, performance, photography and technology.

Titled ‘Messenger’, Luxton’s vast, expansive artwork spans different media and formats, seamlessly blending with elements of Wembley Park’s public realm, including a striking triptych display on Wembley Park's Spanish Steps, three original K2 red telephone boxes in Arena Square and a series of large, 360-degree digital screens along Olympic Way and White Horse Square. Additionally, Luxton's artwork greets visitors passing through Bobby Moore Bridge, where extensive digital screens adorn the space, showcasing the artist’s vision for the piece.

Drawing inspiration from ancient Greek mythology, where Hermes was the divine messenger, carrying dreams, impulses and messages, wings take centre stage in Luxton’s new artwork. Symbolizing intelligence, understanding, and the limitless possibilities that await, Luxton’s artwork captivates viewers with its depth and texture, enveloping and fascinating viewers. The installation on the Spanish Steps delivers an engaging, immersive experience, with viewers able to walk up and down the artwork, as well as admire its illusory qualities against the backdrop of the National Stadium.

“Messenger is made up of clusters of wings morphing and evolving together in an optical illusion of colour and depth. Wings have often been seen as the expression of aspiration towards a higher-than-human condition, a bridge of imagination, thought, freedom and victory. In ancient Greece, Hermes had winged heels, a symbol of the traveller and the messenger, this was said to represent the carrier of dreams, of impulse, of movement. The Greeks also represented love and victory with wings. According to Plato, wings represent intelligence and understanding. This piece aims to act as a gateway of possibility, a pathway that can hold the dreams and aspirations of those before and what is to come.” -- Claire Luxton, Artist

Claire’s visually enticing wing designs will also feature on the three classic red telephone boxes in Wembley Park’s Arena Square this summer, adjacent to the Grade-II listed OVO Arena Wembley. Reverse printed onto vinyl, the yellow, blue, and green designs draw in the viewer with perceptions of depth and texture.

The third of Claire’s trio of ‘Messenger’ pieces takes the form of digital artworks, featuring animated versions of both the Spanish Steps and telephone box installations. The artist is well known for her blending of media, stating that she “creates canvases thanks to photography”, performing detailed narratives for the camera and achieving an immersive effect through post-production digital technology, leaving the viewer wondering if they are looking at a painting or photography.

“We are delighted to welcome four inspirational new installations to Wembley Park’s free outdoor art trail. Claire Luxton’s work is soaring and vibrant and aptly reflects how Wembley Park is a place where heroes have been made for over a hundred years. The Alzheimer’s Society’s campaign is a brilliant reminder of the beauty and fragility of memories. These thought-provoking pieces will be available for the public to view and contemplate throughout the summer months, further enhancing Wembley Park’s reputation as one of London’s most culture-packed neighbourhoods.” -- Josh McNorton, Cultural Director, Wembley Park

The new artworks add to the existing Wembley Park Art Trail, which provides more than 20 pieces of outdoor public art developed with local, national and international artists. The growing collection uses the Wembley Park landscape as an urban canvas, with artworks from the likes of Mr. Doodle, Lois O’Hara and Jason Bruges Studio.

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