Presented by the Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC) and the Aga Khan Centre Gallery, this exhibition explores the relationship between football and religion and how the two are often connected, with players praying on the pitch and fans observing religious rituals in tandem. The wider narrative across the exhibition examines football’s ability to champion social causes, promote marginalised voices, and create opportunities for inclusion and diversity in ways no other sport can.
The exhibition provides a narrative on the subject through a snapshot of social history and contemporary commentary with a selection of books, magazines and newspaper articles, relevant objects, and artefacts. This narrative provides the contextual backdrop for a series of new artworks created by visual artist, illustrator, and animator Ed Merlin Murray.
Murray has created a series of short animations presented as an immersive installation depicting interviews with a number of male and female football players describing their personal relationship to football and religion. The players selected are from across the world and all are at different stages of their careers — from Aska Nasir, a 17-year-old south Asian player in the early stages of her career, to Cheikhou Kouyaté, a Senegalese professional footballer who plays for Premier League club Crystal Palace, and Linvoy Primus MBE, an English former professional footballer who played for Portsmouth and Charlton Athletic FC. The exhibition also includes full interview transcripts as way of sharing the wider conversations and individuals’ impassioned tales of hope, passion, and play.
The exhibition, Football and Religion, includes something for everyone — from eye-catching immersive illustrated animations to interactive art and a host of inspirational media that allow visitors to delve into the subject as much as they wish. Find out more
• Kevin Coleman: Formerly of Brentford FC (Chair).
• Ed Merlin Murray: Visual artist and animator.
• Karshima Inayat: Gilgit League Pakistan.
• Dr Zafar Iqbal: Head of Sports Medicine, Crystal Palace FC.
• Matt Baker: Director of Sports Chaplaincy UK and Chaplain for Charlton Athletic FC.
• Linvoy Primus: Former Portsmouth and Charlton FC.
• Yasmin Abukar: Founder Sisterhood FC.