Olympiad an inspiring exhibition

An oil painting of an athlete by Amber Agarand of Regina in the exhibition Cultural Olympiad.

An art exhibition in Swift Current during the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games is inspired by a former practice at the modern Olympic Games.

The Art Gallery of Swift Current has organized the exhibition Cultural Olympiad in the West Wing Gallery to complement the Summer Games.

The artworks were created by young artists from the three prairie provinces. Some are university fine arts students and others are recently graduated young professionals. Their artistic achievements and participation in the exhibition will not win them any medals at the Western Canada Summer Games, but in the past artists were able to win medals at the Olympic Games.

Art Gallery of Swift Current Associate Curator Heather Benning said the Olympics awarded medals for paintings, sculpture, architecture, literature and music from 1912 to 1952. The artistic competition took place alongside the athletic competition at the Olympics.

This exhibition therefore reflects on the similarities between the efforts of young athletes and artists.

“We wanted to talk about that,” she said. “That just as the Games are an expression of sporting achievements and development for young athletes, this exhibition will reveal the achievements and developments of young artists.”

The Art Gallery of Swift Current selected several works from 12 different artists for the exhibition.

“We have quite a nice variety,” she said. “We have paintings obviously, but we have also black-and-white photography. There is sculpture and ceramics all included in the exhibition, and then there are drawings too and some wood burnings as well.”

The gallery sent out a call for work to all the universities in the provinces that will be represented during the Western Canada Summer Games in Swift Current from Aug. 9-18.

“We did specifically ask for emerging artists, or emerging young professionals and artists who are still going to school or still in the middle of their bachelor’s degree,” she said.

Sport was a preferred theme for submissions, but it was not mandatory for artists to only present artworks about sport activities.

“There’s some work in the show that does reflect the sports theme and then other art that doesn’t at all, but is just good quality artwork,” she said.

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