BODY CASTING OLYMPIANS
'I'm impressed by people who commit to goals with determination as this makes them powerful; these Olympians are awe-inspiring both physically and mentally… This is a great opportunity for me to work with extraordinary people, celebrate British success and to help raise money for a worthwhile cause.'
In London 2012, Louise Giblin united five British sporting heroes, including London 2012 Olympic contender Beth Tweddle MBE, Olympic Ambassador Dame Kelly Holmes and 2012 Olympic torch bearer, Sally Gunnell OBE, in her Mall Galleries solo: Body Casting Olympians.
In an exhibition supporting the brain injury charity, Headfirst, detailed Olympian Series sculptures were exhibited alongside the body casts of her famous models, photographs, bronze plaques and drawings. Olympian Series sculptures' backs appear as stripped, stylised musculature while the fronts display narrative imagery of the Union Flag and the 'greatest sporting achievement' chosen by the athletes.
Beth Tweddle MBE, Olympic Bronze medallist, 7 times British, 6 times European and 3 times Gymnastics World Champion selected her piece to be based on her 2009 World Gold at London's O2 Arena and included both the athlete competing and elements of the city's architectural skyline. Kriss Akabusi MBE's sculpture commemorated his life changing 1984 Hurdles Silver in the neo-Classical Los Angeles Olympics Arena.
As Dame Kelly Holmes's double Gold athletics triumph was in the birthplace of the Classical Olympics, she asked for Classical imagery including Nike, winged goddess of Victory; a request that led to weeks of drawing at the British Museum. Sally Gunnell OBE chose the inspirational wording, 'Enthusiasm in your feelings, clarity in your thoughts and strength in your will' to be carved on her torso as these were sent to her by great British athlete, David Hemery just before she won Gold at Barcelona. Swimmer Darren Leach wanted his torso to depict his four Sydney Paralympic medals and the city constructions that adorned these medals: Sydney's Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
Subsequently, the artist has cast and sculpted many other sports men and women including Lord Colin Moynihan, Heather Mills, Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards, Jon-Allan Butterworth MBE and John Kirk MBE. She finds their choice of imagery illuminating:
'There clearly is no common idea of what is considered success by world level achievers. At its most obvious, a gold medal is a clear indictor but my models often wish to commemorate aspects of the journey, or a personal insight into what they remember clearly or consider most valuable.'