Sunday, March 30, 2014

World Cup '74 Portrait #12 (Kembo Uba Kembo: Zaire)


graphite & putty eraser, with watercolour pencil/30x21cm
The latest portrait subject in the project, randomly-selected as usual, is Kembo Uba Kemo, as he appeared in the FKS ‘Wonderful World of Soccer Stars World Cup 1974 collectors’ stamp album (or Kembo, as it appears it should have been from the more official records), from which original image-object was made the enlarged photocopy which serves as the drawing’s immediate point of visual reference, undergoing the usual manual process of ‘re-mediation’ & ‘de-photography’ in being made.

Also selected for the Zaire squad for the tournament itself, Kembo Uba Kembo appeared as a substitute just after the hour mark in both their first & third games (lost 0 – 2 to Scotland & 0 – 3 to Brazil respectively) & played the entire match between, the resounding 0 – 9 defeat to Yugoslavia, which at the time equalled the record for the World Cup finals’ heaviest loss & remains the joint-worst margin of defeat to date.

Kembo Uba Kembo is another of those to have played at the 1974 World Cup now no longer with us, having died in 2007: in common with the great majority of those to have appeared at the tournament, his was a name of which I had no recollection, it not having registered at the time, as indeed, didn’t the fact that Zaire played in green shirts, what with my televised experience of the World Cup being via a black & white set – the true wonder of their green & yellow kit was not revealed until a little later, courtesy of the Subbuteo team colours range, when I became acquainted with & then acquired number 176 in the mid-Seventies' catalogue, & they became my team (ever the underdog-supporter) in matches against fellow Subbuteo-playing schoolmates. In recognition of the nostalgic nature of the project, & this particular aspect of it, the player’s shirt is here rendered in green rather than the yellow that appears on the source stamp (which itself bears all the hallmarks of being hand-coloured).

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