Olympic Artist Kevin Whitney was selected by the Hellenic Olympic Committee to represent Great Britain at the 50th anniversary of the two week session of the International Olympic Academy in Olympia this year. He was flown out to Athens with his assistant and mentor John de Oliveira in June to present an audio visual lecture and to promote the London 2012 Games to Delegates from 137 countries.
In 1982, the British Olympic Association appointed Whitney as the first ever Official Olympic Artist in the world. The idea was the Artist’s initiative and it combined his lifelong passion of Greek art with his fascination of the Olympic movement. By contrast, in that same year, the Falklands crisis led to the appointment of Elisabeth Kitson as the government’s Official War Artist; a tradition that started as far back as the Battle of Waterloo. Kevin thought “why send an artist to a war zone to depict death and destruction when at the Olympic Games an artist could celebrate life and beauty, just and the ancient Greeks did.”
Kevin went on to subsequently attend Los Angeles 1984 in his official capacity and attended Barcelona 1992 and also the Beijing 2008 Olympics with John de Oliveira, sponsored by Visa and the late Barry Flanagan’s company, Rowford Process.
Whitney’s Olympic work has enabled him to meet and paint some of the world’s finest physical specimens, in the form of athletes. This mirrors the artists of the ancient Greeks, who have been an inspiration to Kevin, and helped to create his initial idea of Official Olympic Artist, to which he was appointed in 1982 by the British Olympic Association. The first for any country in the world in the history of the modern Olympic movement.
Kevin’s work is in public and private collections all over the world, most notably organisations such as the International Olympic Museum in Lausanne, and the British Olympic and Paralympic Associations. His work is also held in private collections including those of Prince Ernst Hanover and David Bowie. Hosting Kevin’s work is a rare opportunity for the Cotswolds, providing a ‘must see’ exhibition for anyone with an interest in art or sport.
Whitney has been promoting Olympic art to students since 1982 and most recently has toured schools around the country since 2004 (sponsored by Lloyds TSB). He also created two Paralympic mosaic murals involving autistic students for Suffolk County Council’s 2012 team. London 2012 has been his fourth Olympics.
Corinium Museum and the Cotswold Museums Trust Corinium Museum, Park Street, Cirencester,GL7 2BX open from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 2-5pm on Sundays and entry to the
The Olympic Art Of Kevin Whitney Friday 27th July – Friday 31st August