As we approach the end of an extraordinary year, we wanted to take some time to reflect and show our appreciation for some of the Arsenal family around the world who have achieved something special in 2020.
While we cannot be together to celebrate, we asked local artist Stazzy, who has a long-standing connection to the club, to reflect on the year and interpret our belief that although we’re apart right now, we are always together. Stazzy is a beacon of inspiration for young people in our community, particularly those who, like him, begin a relationship with us through our community programmes in London. Our thanks and gratitude go to him for creating something so special.
Stazzy has reimagined the iconic socially distanced first-team photo that was taken in November, this time featuring members of the Arsenal family who have inspired us this year.
Our two captains, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Kim Little, represent the club in showing our appreciation for these special individuals and what they’ve done through fundraising, supporting their communities as key workers and volunteers and even advocating for children’s rights on a global scale. The players also show our appreciation for the fans who were able to make a brief return to Emirates Stadium in December and those of you around the world who continue to support us in difficult circumstances. It’s something we never take for granted.
On behalf of everyone at Arsenal Football Club, we thank you for your support in 2020 and our best wishes for 2021.
Born in Larnaca, Cyprus, Stazzy came to the UK as an immigrant in 1991 where he moved around a lot before eventually settling in Elthorne Park, Islington. From that point on, Arsenal has always played a huge part in his life. “Arsenal made it feel like home,” recalls the artist.
The proximity of Emirates Stadium, coupled with the conversations in the school playground and the presence of Arsenal in the Community coaches on his estate, meant the progression to becoming a supporter was natural.
School was something that required more effort, but there was a natural talent for visual art. Sadly the outlet to express it and the encouragement to pursue it professionally were lacking. Instead, Stazzy speaks of time wasted out of school ‘going down the wrong path.’
A turning point forced a readjustment of focus and he decided to ‘commit to art.’ Stazzy first started sharing work in 2010 and fondly recalls the encouragement he received. Losing his job made the path clearer but more precarious, and he recalls how Arsenal were again on hand to support at this vital stage. Having helped reopen a community centre on his estate and support projects such as Drawn Out with the young people he championed through his own Ambitious Academy, Arsenal also began supporting Stazzy’s artistic development. Commissioned to capture Arsène Wenger’s 20-year anniversary in 2016, the artist then went on to produce artwork for The Arsenal Foundation’s ‘A Night to Inspire’ which helped boost his confidence and push him further into the public spotlight.
Having completed his first solo show in 2018, Stazzy now has his own studio and management. A lot has changed since he arrived from Cyprus, but he credits the support from the team he supports as being a constant.
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