Created as part of the project A City Less Grey, Force of Nature represents and celebrates LGBTQ+ football fans and their relationship with football on and off the pitch.
Jay Gilleard is a non-binary street artist, painter and music producer from Huddersfield whose individual as well as collaborative work with Aylo as Nomad Clan is well known for its historical roots and political undertones. Creator of works such as Athena Rising (which is now the largest mural in the UK and overlooks Leeds train station), Jay has transformed sites across the globe with their imaginative and thoughtful street art that questions our everyday relationships with the places we live.
Speaking to Jay, they gave us a bit of insight into their work with Marching Out Together, saying:
‘It’s an honour to be painting back in a place I used to call home. Leeds has always rallied for equality and its cultural significance is something to remain incredibly proud of. Speaking personally, football is a cohesive healer when it celebrates diversity and it has the ability to transcend stereotypes and break down barriers.
Every person should have their safe space to attend sporting events free from fear. My intention for this mural is to echo the sentiments of Marching Out Together, to take some visible space for LBGTQ+ footie fans and spread a wider message of solidarity’
Our work with Marching Out Together, Jay and Leeds United has received funding from Leeds Inspired, as well as Marching Out Together members and contributions such as the loan of a scissor lift from Media Access Solutions.
Stephen Wignal, Chair of Marching Out Together, says:
‘On behalf of Marching Out Together, I am delighted that we are going to join the growing number of Leeds United Mural’s around the city. To have a mural that celebrates LGBTQ+ inclusion, the club we love and the local community is something really special’
Positioned on the side of Patrick Studios, the mural will see an average of 68,000 people passing by each day, mostly commuters as they drive on the A64 to and from work.
Artistic Director Jon Wakemen said:
‘Since moving into Patrick Studios in 2004, East Street Arts has been looking for the right project to adorn the gable end of our building, and this is that project! Working with Marching Out Together and Cbloxx brings together a team that reflects the passions and inclusive nature that East Street Arts strives to deliver, not only in our small corner of Leeds but across the city as a whole, and every football fan knows how it feels to have someone on your side that reflects the world you live in’
Three key groups within the community are at the heart of the project, and were given a say on the look of the mural – these included local residents, LGBTQ+ football fans and crucially Leeds United Academy Players as part of their on-going commitment to equality and inclusion in football.
Chief Executive of Leeds United Football Club Angus Kinnear said:
‘We are delighted that this exciting Leeds United and LGBTQ+ mural will be appearing soon. It will be a very powerful and visible celebration of the diversity of our great fan base, and the club looks forward to contributing to the discussions around its final design’
We are so pleased that the mural is now complete, and love getting to see it at home on the side of Patrick Studios everyday.
You can read more about Jay and their work here: WWW.CBLOXX.CO.UK
Drone Footage of the new mural
Below you can view some great behind the scenes footage of the creation of the mural.
Footage was created by CO Labs.
It was lovely to get a glimpse into what our Netherlands-based residency artists have been up to during their stay with us, at their sharing event on Friday. Chiara Tammaro, Tom Dijkstra and Sijas de Groot stayed with us over the past two weeks at Convention House, and over their time discovered Leeds, studios in the city, and local communities.