World-renowned street artist Cbloxx has revealed a new mural in Leeds city centre. Titled The Peacock, it has been specially made to celebrate Marching Out Together, the community paving the way for an inclusive LGBT+ space at Leeds United Football Club.
Located at East Street Arts Studio, The Peacock is a dazzling burst of colour created by global artist Jay Gilleard, AKA Cbloxx. Its focus is to bring together football, art and queer culture and put them in the limelight.
At the same time, Cbloxx's ultimate intention was to deliver an image that would honour both the history of LUFC while celebrating the diversity of its fans and recognising the importance of Marching Out Together.
The group, which was founded in 2017 by Andrew Tilly and Drew Harrison along with the support of LUFC, aims to create a safe space for LGBT+ supporters, their friends and family, and allies in attendance at LUFC matches. Its wider mission is to bridge the gap between the LGBT+ community and the football fanbase, which is stereotypically seen as more of a macho scene.
With the help of Cbloxx and his wonderful peacock mural, Marching Out Together want to remove homophobia from the game, tackle its associated toxic masculinity, and raise LGBT+ acceptance, tolerance and attendance levels at future matches.
When it comes to getting the backing of an artist, Marching Out Together would be hard-pressed to find a better advocate than Cbloxx. N non-binary, multidisciplinary artist from Yorkshire, Cbloxx, is renowned for engaging with humanitarian issues. His pubic art murals attempt to reconnect people with their local environments while honouring local community heritage and stories.
"Visibility is the key to change. Living authentically and owning that reality is a powerful tool that can transcend stereotypes and break down barriers," Cbloxx explains. "It's important to recognise the varied audiences that make up team supporters. Every person should have a safe space to attend and participate in sporting events free of fear."
With 68,000 people estimated to pass by the mural site every day, Cbloxx's work will certainly find an audience and help celebrate the progress made by Marching Our Together.
The image of the peacock is genius too. LUFC has been associated with the resplendent animal since 1842, thanks to a patch on the company sport ground called Old Peacock Ground. This itself was named after a pub called The Old Peacock, which used to be situated on the land. Over time the peacock has become part of the fabric of the club, even becoming the official LUFC emblem for a period of time.
Cbloxx adds: "The core thematic of The Peacock really is Pride. What is more sassy and full of pride than a peacock? Its otherworldly flamboyance, confidence and striking visuals made it a focal point no brainer. To convey the notion of activism, protest and visibility, I borrowed aesthetics from the old coal mining embroidered flags, which echo the typical northern working-class heritage that is so often celebrated in my work.
"It's hard not to be inspired by your own ancestry! The elegance and creativity executed in the banners really highlight the ornate features of the building so that it adds to its aesthetic beautifully.
"With The Peacock, I hope to echo the sentiments of 'Marching Out Together', take some visible space for LGBT+ football fans and spread a wider message of solidarity and togetherness."