Aim Is to Celebrate His Life and Raise Awareness of the Ongoing Battle Against Homophobia in Football
Campaign group launches fundraiser for a statue of Justin Fashanu.
Statue to be near the Carrow Road stadium, and created by one of Britain's leading sculptors Taslim Martin.
Will act as a reminder of the ongoing battle for LGBTQ+ representation in male professional football and a safe space for queer supporters of the game.
LONDON, December 07, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Proud Canaries, Norwich City’s queer supporters group, has today launched a campaign to raise £150,000 to create a statue to commemorate Justin Fashanu. Fashanu, who became Britain’s first openly gay professional footballer in 1990, took his own life in 1998 after experiencing racist and homophobic abuse after coming out.
The statue will be created by Black sculptor Taslim Martin, one of Britain’s pre-eminent artists in the medium, and will replicate Justin’s iconic celebration after scoring the goal of the season in 1980 against Liverpool.
The aim is to create a place for people to remember Justin, and also stand as a safe space for queer supporters of the game. Situated on the banks of the River Wensum, Justin’s statue will greet fans as they approach Norwich’s Carrow Road ground.
The £150,000 raised will cover the costs of the design, construction and installation of the statue; contributions to the surrounding garden design and maintenance, and educational materials.
Professor Andrew Reynolds, convenor of the Justin Fashanu Statue Campaign said:
"Amongst the backdrop of the Qatar World Cup, where the lack LGBTQ+ rights is in the spotlight, we see Justin’s statue as more than a celebration of the man. Justin’s statue says to every player, regardless of skin colour or sexual orientation: play the game you love and we will love you as you play the game. We hope that Justin’s statue will prompt awareness of persistent homophobia in sport and conversations about how to make football a happy and safe space for all."
Taslim Martin, the creator of the statue, told us:
"Justin’s statue is about much more than football: there is a bigger question of who we accept, celebrate and respect as a nation. Of the 2,600 public statues in Britain on Art UK’s database not a single one is of a gay black man. Justin’s statue will be the first. I am honoured to be creating this statue, which we hope will play an important role in opening up the game to LGBTQ+ representation."
The campaign website and donation page can be viewed here.
The JFSC is being led by Andrew Reynolds of the Proud Canaries (Norwich’s LGBTQ+ supporters group) alongside support from a broad swathe of Norwich City fans and the local community. Majority shareholders, Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones, and director Thomas Smith of Norwich City are enthusiastic supporters of the project.
Professor Andrew Reynolds is a leading scholar of LGBTQ politics and history and the author of The Children of Harvey Milk: How LGBTQ Politicians Changed the World (Oxford: 2018). He is a member of the Proud Canaries and has been a Norwich fan since his days as a student at the University of East Anglia in the mid 1980s.
About Taslim Martin
Taslim Martin is one of the leading sculptors in Britain. He teaches at the Camberwell College of Arts and has delivered a broad range of public art commissions. Taslim has exhibited in the UK and internationally and his works are in the permanent collections of the British Museum and the Horniman Museum. He is passionate about capturing the essence of Justin and what he represents.
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