“For the first time, PUMA has revealed the 2012 technical football kits for PUMA’s ten partnered African National football teams. The kits were designed by ten Creative African Network (CAN) artists from the corresponding nations, using inspiration from the visual and cultural motifs of their country to develop the jerseys.The kit unveil at the Design Museum in London brought together high profile football players and CAN artists from each of the 10 PUMA partnered teams. This collaboration is accompanied by the month-long exhibition, ‘Interpretations of Africa: Football, Art and Design’ at the Design Museum in London, which is showcasing the artists’ design inspirations.
Through PUMA.Creative’s CAN program, artists were commissioned to design a football jersey inspired from the country’s heritage, culture and traditions. Ten artists worked with their home nation to create unique and inspiring designs for the official football kits. PUMA.Creative’s central premise was a program that brings together the individual artists and organization, providing them with a platform for creative exchange and international exposure.
Some of the notable football players attending included including Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon, John Mensah of Ghana and Yaya Touré of Ivory Coast. The exhibition will feature original artwork and sketches alongside development work and the resulting final football kits created by the artists involved, including Barthélémy Toguo of Cameroon, Zineb Zedira of Algeria and Godfried Donker of Ghana who have all become renowned in the art world for their emotive and captivating work. The other artists representing their nations are: Saïdou Dicko of Burkina Faso, Ernest Düku of Ivory Coast, Owanto of Gabon, Hentie van der Merwe of Namibia, Samba Fall of Senegal, Hasan and Husain Essop of South Africa and El Loko of Togo.
The PUMA partnered African national teams represented include Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Namibia, Senegal, Togo, Gabon, Burkina Faso and PUMA’s newest partner South Africa, which signed with the sportlifestyle brand in June 2011. The technical kits have been designed to maximize the player’s on-pitch performace while imbuing their persona with a cultural pride.
Other notable highlights of PUMA’s history with African footbal include the African Unity Kit for the FIFA World Cup 2010 and the Cameroon Unikit in 2004. Art has also featured prominently in PUMA projects: to celebrate the FIFA World Cup 2010, PUMA commissioned contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley for a series of portraits with African football players and to design African-inspired lifestyle products.
Franz Koch, the CEO of PUMA SE, had this to say about the project:
“PUMA has been at the forefront of integrating the two disparate worlds of sport and art, and today through a celebration of football, art, color and culture, we have shown to the world how these two spheres can be uniquely combined. PUMA has a long standing history with Africa, and this event demonstrates how as a brand we continue to be fully committed to our relationship with the continent.”
The Design Museum exhibit ‘Interpretations of Africa: Football, Art and Design’ explores the response of the 10 Creative African Network Artists to a demanding brief, focused on Africa’s unique visual identity and culture. The exhibition charts the artists’ journey, inspiration, and design process, demonstrating how Africa’s culture and history can be captured in both an artwork and a corresponding sportswear design.
Alex Newson, Exhibition Curator, Design Museum, London adds, “As a design challenge, creating a new national football kit is a complicated and demanding brief. The results of the collaboration between PUMA and the group of celebrated artists are remarkable and testament to the talent, pride and passion evident in both African art and football and this exhibition charts this unique journey.”
The exhibition is open for public viewing from now until November 27th, 2011, 10.00am – 17.45pm.
For further information please visit: www.designmuseum.org”
Photodescritpion: (L-R) Serge Akakpo and artist El Loko of Togo, Jonathan Pitropia and artist Saidou Dicko of Burkina Faso, Khader Mangane of Senegal, Steven Pienaar and artists Hasan Essop and Husain Essop of South Africa, Samuel Eto’o and artist Bartelemy Toguo of Cameroon, Yaya Toure and artist Ernest Duku of Ivory Coast, Asamoah Gyan and artist Godfried Donkor of Ghana, Didier Ovono and artist Owanto of Gabon and Bradley Wermann and artist Hentie van der Merwe of Namibia pose during the Puma 2012 African Football Kit Launch at the Design Museum on November 7, 2011 in London, England. Each kit is designed by a renowned artist from each nation sourced through the Creative African Network – a PUMA platform connecting dedicated artists to the creative world. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images for Puma)