049_Global12_Arena_V7

Global issue 12

Arena Arts captured byRoad to 2012: Aiming High, the third and final instal- use during the medal ceremonies. ment of the National Portrait Gallery’s largest ever commission. Nadav Kander’s life-size cut-outs of ten Olympic torchbearers The BT-sponsored project has seen more than 100 portraits – ordinary men and women whose acts of personal bravery, self- of London 2012 protagonists – not only the athletes but those sacrifice or civic duty saw them nominated for this honour – hover working behind the scenes too – go on show at the London gal- effortlessly above the floor. They seem to be stepping out of the lery and in special outdoor exhibitions in Birmingham, Cardiff gallery walls, in the same way that they stepped briefly into the and Edinburgh. By pulling some of the focus away from the Ol- torchlight for their 300 metres of glory. ympians, the exhibition celebrates the otherwise unsung heroes But, as with the Games themselves, the real stars of the show without whom the displays of sporting excellence would not are the Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Anderson & Low’s for- have been possible. mal portrait of members of the British women’s gymnastic team Jillian Edelstein’s cinematic portraits give a quiet gravity to the takes them away from the high beam and parallel bars and into the people she photographs, and her careful selection of backdrops changing room. The elegance of the shot and the brooding light and the mannered poses in which she places her subjects leave the strip away the glitz and garish make-up of the gymnastic arena, viewer with a sense of the true value of the contributions these returning to them a human dignity and calm poise. individuals have made. Her image of Philip Shepherd, who is pic- Kander’s intense black-and-white photos of four rising stars sim- tured in the beautiful Suffolk countryside incongruously playing ilarly divorces these young men and women from the trappings of his cello, belies the mundanity of his Olympic endeavour – Shep- their sports, yet the images still successfully convey the strength, pard was the composer who rescored all 205 national anthems for power and determination needed by all Olympic athletes. Credit: Anderson & Low – National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 project Credit: Finlay MacKay - National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 project Eleanor Simmonds with Billy Pye, Finlay MacKay, 1 December 2010, Swansea Annie Dunham photographed by Anderson & Low, 7 November 2011, Wiltshire Credit: by Jillian Edelstein – National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 project Credit: Anderson & Low – National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 project Hannah Whelan, Jennifer Pinches, Beth Tweddle, Rebecca Tunney photographed by Anderson & Low, 17 Lawrence Okoye photographed by Nadav Kander, 15 November 2011, City of Liverpool Gymnastics Club December 2011, London globalfourth quarter 2012 www.global-briefing.org l49


Global issue 12
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