The Duchess of Cambridge officially opened one of the Key Cultural Olympiad exhibitions, “BT The Road to 2012: Aiming High” at the National Portrait Gallery, with much flair and fanfare, this morning. The exhibition is the largest of the three-year summer cycle of shows and is stylishly staged across several contrasting spaces throughout the Gallery. Celebrating the people who will collectively make the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games happen, each annual exhibition has been displayed free to the public at the Gallery.
Ruth Mackenzie, Director, Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival, says: ‘The National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 project is a wonderful record of the range of people working to make London 2012 a huge success. It is great that audiences can see this exhibition in London, and key highlights in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Birmingham, all for free.’
40 new portraits of some of the key players in London 2012 by photographers Anderson & Low, Nadav Kander and Jillian Edelstein are on show at the NPG from today 19 July. The exhibition is part of the London 2012 Festival, the spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration from 21 June until 9 September 2012, bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK.
Of particular note are the more artistic works by Anderson & Low’s including an American Gothic style portrait. Nadav Kander’s portraits include four black and white studies of rising stars including Jade Jones and Lawrence Okoye and ten life-size cut-out photographs of torchbearers shown with their feet off the ground and apparently stepping out in front of the gallery walls. Jillian Edelstein’s cinematic use of locations tells the story of people involved not in the sports but in the artistic and cultural arenas, such as Anish Kapoor and Stephen Daldry, from the planning of the opening ceremony to the catering and transport operations. Kate Middleton, a History of Art graduate is an official patron of the National Portrait Gallery, one of the five charities that she has chosen to support.
Photo © Anthony Upton 2012