From Marta’s message to Morgan’s merrymaking – the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup has been a memorable one. The quadrennial tournament has witnessed record-breaking audiences, with as many as one billion viewers expected to tune in this summer.
The sport itself has gained popularity, albeit slowly, over the years. During this entire time period, Hyundai has provided continued support to the FIFA Women’s World Cup – something it has been doing for the past twenty years.
To help spread the word about the history of Women’s Football, Hyundai have partnered with FIFA World Football Museum. Jointly, they have put up an exhibit in Paris, which will go on till Sunday, July 7; the same day as the Final of the World Cup.
The exhibit is built around Hyundai’s statement of ‘True Passion’, thus signifying the spirit of the sport.
A stroll through history
Those who walk through its gates will witness, in detail, what Women’s Football stands for and its journey through the years. In order to better understand the latter, the exhibit itself has been divided into three parts.
The first part takes the audience to the time before the Women’s World Cup was established in 1991. The second part, meanwhile, charts the progress from the first edition, till the last one, which came to an end in 2015. Finally, the adventure comes to a stop in 2019, where we are witnessing history being re-written.
Also displayed inside the gallery are important artefacts, including the FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy and the official uniforms of all twenty-four participating nations.
However, the crown jewel of this mobile FIFA Museum is a painting made by British artist Rachel Gadsden. The painting, which brings to life Hyundai’s motto of ‘True Passion’, features legendary footballer Mia Hamm as its subject.
A commemoration of true passion
Sitting beside her painting, Gadsden talks about the sport itself and the journey of the women who have played it.
“When we sit in an exhibition like this and we see that there have been 150 years of women playing football, it’s unbelievable,” says the artist.
“The journey that women have gone through is a suffrage and I feel this tournament has really captured that. In the painting, I was trying to capture something about the energy of women to be footballers and to bring that social change. Football is not just a sport, it’s so much more than sport.”
Gadsden suffers from visual impairment, as well as, a hereditary lung condition. Her masterpiece on display is a result of her listening to Mia Hamm’s story instead of her observing the subject.
“It has been a really thrilling experience. I actually feel really honoured to be here and to have had this opportunity, not only because I think it showcases some of the things I’m very passionate about within my work because I think it’s part of this bigger story.”
Hamm is next to speak. The two-time World Cup champion describes her admiration for Gadsden, who she believes put her true passion into representing the USA star.
Women’s football legend Mia Hamm chats USA’s FIFA Women’s World Cup quest
“Being a part of this exhibit and sharing this with Rachel is hopefully continued inspiration for the next generation, that they can follow their true passion. It’s more than art, it’s more than football for us, it’s part of our soul and our hearts,” Hamm says.
It is in Paris, where the exhibition stands to display the history of this marginalised sport until Sunday, July 7. Some three hundred miles away in Lyon, Mia Hamm’s former international team, the United States of America, takes on the Netherlands in the Final of the 2019 Women’s World Cup.