The painter behind the mural to celebrate Manchester United star Marcus Rashford has explained why he chose him as his subject and the player’s reaction to it.
Famous street painter Akse was recently commissioned to paint the United star on a wall in the area of Manchester, Withington, where he grew up.
The mural was in honour of Rashford’s social justice work off the pitch, with the Manchester United man having taken on the government over free school meals for children.
That was a battle he won, with Boris Johnson and co overturning a decision to deny free school meals to millions.
Rashford has not stopped there, though, continuing to take on the government on various issues as well as launching his own scheme to provide children with books.
And it is because of that social justice campaign, and the huge impression it’s had on the public, that saw the player’s mural commissioned.
“It is an association, the Withington Walls, which wanted to embellish this district with street-art and with frescoes that would tell its story,” he told L’Equipe.
“And Marcus grew up in Withington; it was a perfect subject with his humanitarian actions to help children in difficulty and provide them with free meals during school holidays.
“It really inspired the country. With the people of the association, we said to ourselves that Marcus was a good model for the community, it started from there.”
The mural has received a hugely positive reaction online, particularly from those around Manchester, who are keen to see the Manchester United man praised for his efforts.
The artwork did not go unnoticed by Rashford himself, who tweeted his delight and thanks to Akse on social media.
However, it seems the United star went out of his way to thank the artist on a more personal level than via social media, something the artist was thankful for.
“He’s from the neighbourhood, so when I started painting everyone spread the word, and one day while I was painting a friend of his came up to me and handed me his phone,” he added.
“So I see Marcus on the screen, I thought it was a photo, and I see him starting to move.
“I realized that we were on FaceTime, so we talked. He thanked me.
“I’ve been doing photorealistic portraits for fifteen years, and few of my subjects have contacted me directly to thank me, it’s a nice gesture on his part.”