UEFA opens new art exhibition displaying talents of European female artists inspired by their home country’s qualification for this summer’s tournament.
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With just 100 days to go until UEFA Women's EURO 2022 kicks off, we today unveil "Trailblazers" – a unique exhibition that showcases the work of European artists given a blank canvas to celebrate women’s football.
Tournament ambassador and former Germany international Josephine Henning, who picked up a paintbrush and turned to art after hanging up her football boots in 2018, designed the exhibition’s title poster.
UEFA invited artists from participating nations in this summer’s tournament to create an image inspired by the game in their country. The result is a kaleidoscope of styles and strokes united in one gallery at UEFA’s official headquarters on the banks of Lake Geneva in Switzerland.
The artworks will be heading to England this summer, where the biggest ever edition of the Women’s EURO starts at Old Trafford, Manchester on 6 July.
Meet the UEFA Trailblazers team: a who's who of featured artists
Exhibition poster: Josephine Henning (Germany)
"In the context of women’s football climbing up to the next level and filling the huge well-known stadiums, I wanted to ask questions like: what is the heart of this tournament? I‘m proud to be a woman but does it change the way my heart is beating for this sport? I don‘t think so. So actually, my inspiration is everyone who gives their heart to this game trying to push forward!"
Austria: Birgit Palma
"The artwork presents a multi-layered view of women's soccer. Organic shapes merge with abstract geometry to capture the spirit, precision and speed of such a game. I find the size of the stadiums breathtaking, when I first went to see a match, I was literally blown away. You feel small but at the same time part of something bigger - admire the spirit and teamwork in this sport."
Belgium: Ann-Sophie De Steur
"The inspiration for my art was the word "Belgitude" and the Red Flames (our national team) - I remember playing football when I was a kid. It was winter and i forgot my shorts, so I had to play in tights. It was very embarrassing then, but now i think it's quite funny. Kassandra Missipo is my favourite player, she's honest, straight-talking and played for Ghent, where I live."
Denmark: Stine Hvid
"I wanted to show the joy, friendship and common love of sports and football. I played football myself when I was a teenager – it was an awesome team, with great players. I was not very good at it, but I continued to play because I absolutely loved the teamspirit and friendship, the encourgagement from the others to improve, and to reach something together as unit. My first football memory was Denmark winning EURO '92 – my whole family was covered in red and white and were jumping with joy. This Denmark team for Women's EURO is one strong fireball of power women."
England: Kelly Anna
"The inspiration of my piece was our World Cup star of 1966. It is a piece about hope and determination to keep reaching for more stars. The piece is my representation of the importance of inclusion within football - the game is for everyone. I still remember going to my first match with my Dad and brothers, sitting in the crowd and really feeling the energy of the fans. I remember how powerful it was to be a fan and how excited it made me feel."
Finland: Janine Rewell
"I wanted to capture the divinity of the sport and combine it with footballs as objects since they are so inspirational to me — with all the different patterns and weavings. We have a big meadow-like football field on the back yard of my lake side cottage with goals self-crafted from old wood planks and gardening net and tall forest surrounding it. I love playing there with my small nephews in the summers - like that football is a game that can be done almost anywhere and with anybody, bringing together different generations and friends."
France: Claire Prouvost
"The artwork is inspired by the diversity of the French team and by how people come together through football, no matter where you come from and what your background is. United by their love of football and dedication to sports, I wanted to represent a team full of energy and colours."
Germany: Lisa Tegtmeier
"My idea was to visualise a magic moment in football, a breathtaking moment where both the players and the rest of the stadium can feel the energy and the passion for the game. I wanted to show the power of the player and how she is captured in this moment, full of joy and strength, like a heroine – because we need more female superstars in the world."
Iceland: Ninna Thorarinsdottir
"My inspiration are all these strong powerful women that are around today. There is so much power in them, like they are extruding into another dimension. My favourite player is most definitely Jorge Campos, the former Mexico goalkeeper,. mainly because of his uniforms. He designed them himself and they are amazing. The patterns are just like him in action, bouncing around the goal, you just see streaks of colours."
Italy: Sara Liguori
"To create this illustration, I listened to many speeches by various Italian players. The thing that struck me was that all of them, more than personal achievements, focused on what the movement is creating and how it is evolving. Sisterhood is just that for me, women for other women, no matter where we will arrive as singles, the important thing is what we achieve together in the service of our sisters, for those who are already here and for those who will arrive."
Netherlands: Xaviera Altena
"My inspiration was the powerful moment you have with your team right before the start of an important match. Lace up the shoes, and start! I don't have one favourite player but love the whole team when they play together as one. My favourite football memories are big championships when all the streets change into orange colours."
Northern Ireland: Alana McDowell
"I wanted to create a piece that portrayed the optimism and true spirit of the Northern Irish people and the team. So central to my piece is the word GOAL, the 'O' doubling as the instantly recognisable NI logo, surrounded by lots of movement and figures in various acts of play and celebration! My dad was obsessed with football so my entire childhood was filled with chants of George Best and football constantly on the TV in the background. My uncle, Tommy Wright played in the Premier League for Newcastle United and Manchester City as well as for the Northern Ireland team - football was huge in our family!"
Norway: Kine Kjær
"I wanted my artwork to represent a part of the traditional Norwegian culture, and I chose to illustrate a woman wearing the Bunad from Nordland (Nordlandsbunad) wich is the area where I ́m from. My first real mind-blowing memory of football is when Norway won against Brazil in 1998. Norway was behind, but during the last 10 minutes or so actually scored two goals and won 2-1!"
Portugal: Filipa Beleza
"My best memory of football was watching Portugal win EURO 2016, and celebrating it afterwards! I was inspired by the festive spirit that football brings out in people and wanted to portray the players in the field but also the kids playing in the streets, the groups of friends cheering both in the stadiums and at the cafes, restaurants and houses around the country and the tourists that get excited by the party atmosphere. Everyone comes together in a big celebration."
Spain: Genie Espinosa
"I wanted to talk about fierce women playing hard and enjoying a sport which has been mainly male for so many years. It’s out of the question how good they are and giving them more space to grow and be seen is amazing! I love Alexia Putellas, she's so amazing and strong."
Sweden: Petra Eriksson
"I like working with these kinds of blocks andstripes of colour and I wanted to bring that into the image to add a graphic element to it. Obviously, I wanted to work with the Swedish colours to make a connection to my home country and our team, but I also wanted to play with other colours to make it feel positive and inviting. One of the players from the Swedish team that really inspires me is Kosovare Asllani, but my first memories are from the men's World Cup in 1994, I was six years old and I remember being allowed to stay up late to watch some of the games with my mum. Impressively, and a bit surprisingly, we took third place that year and I remember that it felt like all of Sweden was in a kind of football mania."
Switzerland: Marilou Briner
"I chose to work around the Swiss flag, almost by instinct. I wanted to do a bold and graphic artwork, in order to really make some impact. Therefore, the Swiss cross was a great way to conceptualize our nation and how women have managed to stand out in it, claiming their freedom, breaking down stereotypes and barriers to make their own way to the top. Also, the red made so much sense to accentuate the fierceness and energy of women owning their place in the football world. This project really motivated be to follow with great attention the Women's EURO and support our fabulous Swiss team all the way to the win!"
Serbia's Marija Markovic created a unique team poster for each of the artists to remember their involvement in the unique project.
"This is a great way to present UEFA Women's EURO in a different and artistic manner," she said. "My main inspiration was the idea to connect female artists and football in a creative way, to accentuate the upcoming event."
UEFA Women's EURO 2022: the lowdown
UEFA Women's EURO 2022 will be played from 6 to 31 July in England with 15 other nations joining the hosts.
There are venues in Brighton & Hove, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Rotherham, Sheffield, Southampton, Trafford, Wigan & Leigh.
It is the second time England have staged the competition after 2005, when Germany triumphed. The Netherlands won the last finals, in 2017, on home turf.