Football legend Eric Cantona launches art exhibition at the National Football Museum

The new exhibition focuses on sporting heroes and their impact on society.

By Emma Davidson | January 24th '23

Image: National Football Museum

Manchester sporting legend Eric Cantona has officially launched his brand-new exhibition From Moss Side to Marseille: The Art of Michael Brown and Eric Cantona at the National Football Museum

The football icon has co-curated the show with the artist Michael Browne whose art details the relationship between sport and modern society. 

Commissioned by Cantona himself, the exhibition is heavily influenced by sporting heroes who use their stature to advocate for social change, human rights, equality and injustice, often portraying them as godlike figures.

Image: National Football Museum

Micheal Browne’s depiction of icons including Diego Maradona, boxer Muhammed Ali and Olympic Athlete Jesse Owens all feature in the show, with Cantona explaining that he wanted to use the exhibition as a way to showcase to younger people the wider problems in society. 

Cantona said: “I am excited to showcase this amazing collection and the important messages behind the artwork. There are many unsung heroes featured in the collection and it is time their stories are told.”

Born in Moss Side, Michael Browne has been practising art since a young age and is most well known for his portrayal of sporting figures in a neoclassical style. His work showcases recognisable figures as protagonists lifted from history and mythology. 

Image: National Football Museum

Since leaving his football career behind back in 1997, Eric Cantona has gone on to establish himself as an actor, director and producer. He established a friendship with Michael Browne just before retiring, and the artist began working on his famous The Art of the Game painting which chronicled Cantona’s return to football after his ban.

There are 10 artworks on display at the exhibition:

  • Maradona and the Western Wall (2020)
  • Algeria Counter-Revolution (2021)
  • The Art of the Game (1997)
  • England and Brazil Real-estate and Human Rights (2019)
  • Muhammad Ali Freedom Without a Crown (2018)
  • John Carlos and Tommy Smith for 30 Pieces of Silver (2018)
  • Wilma Rudolph Throne of Impermanence. A letter to my Future (2022)
  • Carlos Caszely Theatre of Nightmares (2021)
  • Jesse Owens Scales of Injustice (2017)
  • Eric Cantona Family Portrait (2022)

Browne said: “It has been a pleasure working in partnership with the National Football Museum to curate this exhibition, and it is very fitting for the collection to be debuted in Manchester.”

The exhibition launched on Saturday (14 January) and will run until June 2023. 

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From Moss Side to Marseille: The Art of Michael Brown and Eric Cantona

Date: January – June 2023
Venue: The National Football Museum
Price: £11
adults, £6 kids aged 5-15, free for concessions and under 5s