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First openly gay footballer remembered in fine art show

INNOVATIVE ART: The drawings of Colin Yates have won much attention for more than 20 years, and often focus on the topics of football and the discrimination that happens in the sport, which is why his latest exhibition revolves around openly gay Justin Fashanu, who took his own life in 1998

FOOTBALL ICON Justin Fashanu is to be subject of a new art exhibition.

Artist Colin Yates has created the first fine art exhibition dedicated to professional football’s first openly gay player.

The exhibition, entitled Justin Fashanu – Snakes and Ladders, will be at the Blue Door Gallery in Coventry until February 14.

Amal Fashanu, Justin’s niece, will be attending a private view on February 8. The artwork, along with educational workshops, has been sponsored by The Professional Footballers’ Association.

Fashanu made his name at Norwich City. He was also the first black footballer to command a £1 million transfer fee, with his transfer from City to Nottingham Forest in 1981, but had little success as a player afterwards, although he continued to play at senior level until 1994.

PICTURED: Justin Fashanu

Aged just 37, Fashanu took his own life in London in May 1998 after allegations surrounding his private life.

Yates has been creating artwork around the subject of football for over 20 years as a champion of anti-racism and anti-discrimination.

His work has been shown in a number of prestigious solo exhibitions throughout the UK and abroad, including at the European Parliament in Brussels.

He has gained a reputation for high-quality and innovative artwork, and after winning a Year of the Artist Award, he also became artist in residence at Leicester City Football Club.

He has created several major football projects including the Black Looks anti-racist football project, recently on display at the National Football Museum in Manchester.

Yates also created the Moving the Goalposts – A History of Women’s Football exhibition which featured in Gabby Logan’s Sexism in Football? documentary shown on BBC One.

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