Last year, while on a visit to LA, Sean met artists Carolyn Castaño and Gary Dauphin at a friend’s house in Echo Park. Of course, conversation veered to futbol. Sean had known about their work for a while (Back in the day, Gary–who also reps for Haiti–was one of the key figures at–a sort of Africa is a Country 1.0, and Carolyn’s built a solid rep for her art exploring aspects of Latin American identities in LA). They introduced their project (actually, they showed him a t-shirt of Andres Escobar designed by Carolyn) , “CARGA1804 is Art, Politics, T-Shirts, Fútbol, Play, Repeating Islands.” Of course they weren’t new to this. Carolyn had by then already held an exhibit in LA built around t-shirts of assassinated footballers, Asesinados United, and was later part of LACMA’s critically acclaimed exhibitions, “Fútbol: The Beautiful Game and Phantom Sightings” and “Art After the Chicano Movement,” which traveled to the Museo Del Barrio, New York City and the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City, amongst other venues . Sean was interested. The idea was to collaborate on working together on producing a series of t-shirts with the World Cup in mind, one which includes a healthy representation of players from the African diaspora. The shirts are here now. Available for sale on Etsy. Each shirt is silkscreened by hand by Castaño and come in men and women’s sizes. Africa is a Country will get a cut from every shirt sold. So you won’t just look good, you’ll feel good about yourself too. Go on, buy your shirt. 

We collaborated on a few: Mohamed Aboutreika (most probably Egypt’s greatest player, who defied FIFA bans on players making any statements–apart from declaring your undying love for Jesus, like most of the Brazilian players–by declaring his support for the embattled Gazans),  Didier Drogba (the lodestar of Cote d’Ivoire’s greatest generation and now inspiration for Turkish protesters), and  Mario Balotelli (“I am Italian, I feel Italian, I will forever play with the Italy national team”). There are also shirts for Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Faustino Asprilla, Carlos Valderrama, Radamel Falcao and Jozi Altidore.

Further Reading

No more caricatures

Engaging seriously with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life could help us understand how South Africa got where it is and where it’s going.