Early years: ‘Colin in Black & White’ explores Colin Kaepernick’s formative years

‘In Colin we’ve always had someone who had a wry sense of humour,’ says illustrator Ricky Uwe who recalls early optimism

Early years: ‘Colin in Black & White’ explores Colin Kaepernick’s formative years

The day Colin Kaepernick first got a contract, Ricky Uwe was excited.

“I was living at the end of a dirt road in Byron Bay, around 20km from where I was working. I remember running from my house, texting my girlfriend, and within seconds my phone started buzzing with messages from people telling me he had signed with the Buccaneers,” the Australian illustrator said.

“I had grown up watching the Buccaneers and as an Australian football fan – I was elated that a guy who could kick the net out from under you actually got a league,” he said.

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Kaepernick is now the only active NFL player to sit or kneel during the national anthem this season, a protest against racial injustice that Uwe also supports. He describes his childhood drawings as a “cutaway” of a figure with a black afro, who is wearing the Niners. He had fond memories of his friend Kaepernick, who he met through another Australian athlete, Kieren Jack – and “a picture he gave me from Melbourne when he was two or three”.

“He was in black and white and it showed that he was very sporty and keen to work hard,” he said. “I drew his Afro perfectly.”

But when Kaepernick decided to join the 49ers, he shunned the urge to draw their QB in black and white. “But I have now gone back and redrawn those pictures because it’s a case of ‘hey, what the hell?’ What have you got to lose?”

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Uwe said he put on a pair of tennis shoes to attempt to be ready for when Kaepernick’s agent called.

“Colin in Black & White”: Exhibit A – 29 Jonson St New York, open 10-5pm daily until 24 Dec | children’s gift shop 10-5pm daily until Christmas | admission $25 a person | Box Office: 201-353-2236

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