Eduardo Paolozzi once said, “I like to make use of everything. I can’t bear to throw things away – a nice wine bottle, a nice box. Sometimes I feel like a wizard in Toytown, transforming a bunch of carrots into pomegranates.
The late Scottish artist, who was born in Leith, would have been celebrating his 100th birthday this March 7th, and It’s fair to say he was a man who enjoyed creativity, ingenuity, and not just thinking outside the box, but picking it up and smashing it to create something different and beautiful.
That’s why he would have a wry smile on his face as he looks down on the world to see the fantastic work Leith Athletic Football Club has been doing. They have taken the concept of a football strip and transformed it into art itself, with Paolozzi’s iconic patterns now gracing the black and white stripes of Leith Athletic.
This unique kit not only pays tribute to Paolozzi but also serves as a celebration of Leith’s vibrant community, past and present. All proceeds from its sales contribute to the establishment of women’s and girls’ teams within the league system, reflecting the club’s commitment to growth in these areas. Additionally, a limited edition scarf has been introduced as part of the initiative.
The National Galleries of Scotland are also marking the centenary of Eduardo Paolozzi’s birth with the “Paolozzi at 100” exhibition, which opened on January 27th. The display showcases Paolozzi’s influential works, providing a glimpse into the phenomenal artistry that defines Paolozzi at 100. It is a true celebration of the Godfather of Pop Art and features 60 key works, spanning his collages, prints, textiles, ceramics, and sculptures, and is free for all visitors.
Leith Athletic Football Club’s girls’ team recently had the opportunity to explore the exhibition and donned their new Paolozzi shirts for the occasion. Designer, Scott Dawson, who has been instrumental in bringing the creation of the kit together spoke at The National Galleries as the exhibition was unveiled. “Leith has such a rich creative history, so it’s great to see art and football come together like this. Huge thanks to the Paolozzi Foundation and the National Galleries of Scotland for supporting a worthy cause.”
Born in Leith in 1924, Paolozzi, of Italian descent, remains a beloved figure in Edinburgh. His artistic journey took him from Edinburgh to London and Paris, where he crafted enigmatic bronze sculptures and Dada-inspired collages. Knighted in 1989, Paolozzi bequeathed a significant collection of his works to the National Galleries of Scotland in 1995.
Leith Athletic, currently participating in the East of Scotland League, has a rich history dating back to 1887. Recognised as the “Zebras” due to their black and white vertical striped shirts, the club experienced highs and lows over 67 years before disbanding in 1954. Despite financial challenges and setbacks, the spirit of Leith Athletic endured, and the club was resurrected in 1996, making a triumphant return to the senior ranks in 2008 through a partnership with Edinburgh Athletic.
It is rumoured that several members of the Paolozzi family have indeed played with Leith Athletic Football Club throughout the years. What the truth is behind those stories, nobody is certain – however, what is undeniable is the role and influence that Paolozzi has had on Leith and the impact that Leith Athletic Football Club are having on the community: Inspiring change and innovation. It’s something that would have resonated greatly with Paolozzi.
About Paolozzi at 100
National Galleries Scotland: Modern Two
Open now till 21 April 2024
About Leith Athletic Football Club
Leith Athletic is a community club with over 600 players offering a player pathway from age 5 to adults. As the club continues to grow, we are looking to develop our girls section which has around 30 players. The Paolozzi strip is a special limited edition, endorsed by the Paolozzi Foundation to help us fund the growth of the girls section and provide a sustainable and safe environment for the girls to thrive. The strip is available to pre-order using the link below.
Sold via a limited window on Hope and Glory’s website (https://store.hopeandglorysportswear.co.uk/product/leith-athletic-fc-shirt)