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Olympic art project 'Journey to the Podium' unveiled
Marc Burden's depiction of GB Olympic Academy cyclist Russell Hampton
Marc Burden's depiction of GB Olympic Academy cyclist Russell Hampton

A collaborative project between artists and Essex Olympic hopefuls has gone on show at the home of Colchester United.

The 'Journey to the Podium' exhibition of eight works comprises painting, animation, photography, film and sound.

The Essex County Council backed venture is part of its 'Team Essex Ambassadors' scheme for London 2012 hopefuls.

The artwork will be displayed at Colchester's Community Stadium until November, when it take up residence at the Gibberd Gallery in Harlow.

The council's Arts Development Manager Lindsey Strange explained the thinking behind Journey to the Podium.

Journey to the Podium collaborations
Sculptor Ben Dearnley and fencer Alex O'Connel
Multi-media artist Elaine Tribley and wheelchair racer Anne Wafula-Strike
Photographer Marc Burden and cyclist Russell Hampton
Painter Mark Orbell and sprint hurdler Sarah Claxton
Photographer Ron Suffield and race walking twins Dominic and Daniel King
Animator Paul Heard and disability swimmer Ryan Crouch
Sound artist Tim Skinner and hockey player Chloe Rogers
Graphic illustrator Wei Ong and basketball player Francesca Whitby

"We created a brief to create artworks that reflected the personality of the athletes and their sport, so that it could be a permanent legacy for Essex's journey to the podium," she said.

"I think for the artist it's the chance to work with inspirational people who have a lot of ambition to get towards 2012 and also to be part of the Olympic journey," she said.

"For the sports people it's the opportunity to have themselves immortalised in great art."

Billericay artist Paul Heard worked with schoolchildren to create a short animation of disability swimmer Ryan Crouch.

"If you break it down, art is about self expression and freedom about what you're creating," he said.

"I think with sport there are a lot of similarities in that respect in terms of expressing yourself through movement."

Dunmow hockey player Chloe Rogers worked with sound artist Tim Skinner on the audio-visual piece, 'Bully'.

Sculptor Ben Dearnley's sculpture of fencer Alex O'Connell
Ben Dearnley's sculpture of fencer Alex O'Connell entitled 'Leap of Faith'

"I've not had the chance to work with art before and its brought out a different side of hockey, and the sounds you wouldn't normally here" she said.

"You obviously get the noise of a backboard in a game when you score a goal, whereas with this you actually the sound of the finer detail of when the stick hits the ball."

Organisers are now looking for new artists and athletes to take part in the second wave of Journey to the Podium collaborations.

By the start of the 2012 games they hope to have set up 26 partnerships.





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