PUMA Launches 2012 African Football Kits through a Unique Artist Collaboration and Exhibition at Design Museum, London

London, UK, November 07, 2011

Global sportlifestyle brand PUMAhas revealed an inspiring and contemporary collaboration, launching technical football kits for PUMA’s 10 partnered African National football teams. Each kit is designed by a renowned artist from the Creative African Network (CAN) – a PUMA platform connecting and promoting artists from and inAfrica. This unique collaboration is complemented by a month-long exhibition at the Design Museum, London that showcases the artists’ design inspirations.

Today’s unveiling at the Design Museum in London, brought together high profile football players and CAN artists from each of the 10 PUMA partnered teams, including Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon, John Mensah of Ghana and Yaya Touré of Ivory Coast. With the 2012 Orange Africa Cup of Nations® fast approaching, the event was the perfect platform for PUMA to demonstrate how the brand has fused its work within sport and art, seamlessly bringing together two worlds that don’t often collide.

Central to the project is PUMA.Creative (a programme of PUMAVision), that brings together individual artists and organizations, and provides them with a platform for creative exchange and international exposure. Through PUMA.Creative’s CAN programme, artists were commissioned to design a football jersey inspired from the country’s heritage, culture and traditions. Ten artists worked with their home nation to create unique and inspiring designs for the official football kits.

“PUMA has been at the forefront of integrating the two disparate worlds of sport and art, and today through a celebration of football, art, colour and culture, we have shown to the world how these two spheres can be uniquely combined,” comments Franz Koch, CEO of PUMA SE. “PUMA has a long standing history with Africa, and this event demonstrates how as a brand we continue to be fully committed to our relationship with the continent.”

PUMA does indeed have a celebrated history with African football, each year bringing something new and different to the football category. Notable highlights include the African Unity Kit for the FIFA World Cup 2010 and the Cameroon Unikit in 2004. Art has also featured prominently in PUMA projects: to celebrate the FIFA World Cup 2010, the brand commissioned contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley for a series of portraits with African football players and to design African-inspired lifestyle products.

The PUMA partnered African national teams represented include Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Namibia, Senegal, Togo, Gabon, Burkina Faso and PUMA’s newest partner South Africa, which signed with the sportlifestyle brand in June 2011. The technical kits have been designed to maximise the player’s on-pitch performance. The jersey fits the body closely to avoid grabbing from the opponent, it also emphasises the physique of the players, allowing them to exhibit their physical presence on the pitch. The fabric features PUMA’s U.S.P Moisture Management technology, enhancing body performance by dragging moisture away from the body, enhancing air flow and keeping the body at the ultimate performance temperature.

Terence Parris, Head of Teamsports Marketing at PUMA SE comments, “African football continues to play a huge part in our global sports marketing strategy. Over the past decade, we have progressively developed our relationship with Africa, investing in grassroots projects, player relationships and African federation partnerships. The emotion and passion of African football perfectly complements our brand ethos and we are uniquely privileged to be in a position to work with a continent with such rich culture and heritage. These football kits embody all of our brand values.”

PUMA has worked with the Design Museum in London to launch a month-long exhibition ‘Interpretations of Africa: Football, Art and Design’ to celebrate PUMA’s inspired new football kit designs for the 10 PUMA partnered African National football teams.

Through the African kits revealed today, ‘Interpretations of Africa: Football, Art and Design’ explores the response of the 10 artists from the Creative African Network, to a demanding brief, focused on Africa’s unique visual identity and culture. The exhibition charts the artists’ journey, inspiration, and design process, demonstrating howAfrica’s culture and history can be captured in both an artwork and a corresponding sportswear design.

The exhibition will feature original artwork and sketches alongside development work and the resulting final football kits created by the artists involved, including Barthélémy Toguo ofCameroon, Zineb Zedira ofAlgeriaand Godfried Donker ofGhanawho have all become renowned in the art world for their emotive and captivating work. The other artists representing their nations are: Saïdou Dicko ofBurkina Faso, Ernest Düku ofIvory Coast, Owanto of Gabon, Hentie van der Merwe ofNamibia, Samba Fall of Senegal, Hasan and Husain Essop ofSouth Africaand El Loko ofTogo.

Alex Newson, Exhibition Curator,DesignMuseum,Londonadds, “As a design challenge, creating a new national football kit is a complicated and demanding brief. The results of the collaboration between PUMA and the group of celebrated artists are remarkable and testament to the talent, pride and passion evident in both African art and football and this exhibition charts this unique journey.”

The exhibition is open for public viewing from November 8 – 27, 2011, 10.00am – 17.45pm.