This Is England
Following the 2022 World Cup, Black British artist Matt Small’s This Is England is on display at Guildhall Art Gallery, showcasing the diversity of the England football squad – the most successful England men’s team since the 1966 World Cup winners. Commissioned by the FA at the start of the Euros 2020 (held in 2021), 27 portraits by Small present the football players and manager that represented England at the Euros, highlighting and celebrating the multi-racial team, many of whom recently played at the World Cup.
Players featured in This Is England include captain Harry Kane, rising talents Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingham, star players Marcus Rashford MBE, Raheem Sterling MBE and Jack Grealish, and stalwart defenders Kyle Walker and Reece James, all alongside their manager Gareth Southgate OBE. The exhibition captures the proud, celebratory and hopeful spirit of the players, and English football more generally.
Small is a passionate believer in social inclusion, and his energetic and dynamic portraits often depict the young, homeless and socially marginalized to encourage viewers to consider those who are often overlooked and face prejudice. His portraits of the England players show a group of men, many of whom have faced racial prejudice and abuse in their journey to the top of the game and are using their platform to stand up against it, who are role models and inspiration for millions across the country.
The racial diversity of the Three Lions at the Euros in 2021, and subsequently the World Cup, was widely lauded, especially following football’s response to Black Lives Matter, with players across the Premier League and international football showing their support by taking the knee at kick off. While the exhibition celebrates the diversity of the team, it also highlights how important it is to keep striving for racial justice and equality.
10.30am - 4pm. Free
Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, London EC2V 5AE
Thu 19 Jan to Sun 19 February