While it's the big sporting events at the Vancouver Olympics that are garnering most of the headlines, there is another aspect to the Games that is proving to be immensely popular with visitors from around the world.
The Cultural Olympiad is a showcase of Canadian and international arts and popular culture featuring a diversity of music, dance, theatre, visual arts, film, outdoor spectaculars and digital media experiences. Contributing to the cultural smorgasbord are a number of faculty members from the University of Regina's Faculty of Fine Arts.
Department of Visual Arts faculty member and new media artist Rachelle Viader Knowles is part of a collaborative team that created Waterfall, an interactive video installation in the form of a video vending machine. Located at the Whistler Public Library, this new piece was commissioned by the Canadian Wildlife Federation. The Waterfall creative team also includes Nova Scotia College of Art and Design faculty members Kim Morgan (project leader, sculpture professor at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and a University of Regina alumna of the MFA program in Visual Arts); David Clarke (Faculty member at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design); David Ogborn (McMaster University faculty member and formerly a sessional instructor in the University of Regina's Department of Music).
Visual Arts faculty member David Garneau was one of the 100 Aboriginal artists from across Canada selected by the Vancouver Organizing Committee to create two works of art. The works were showcased at an event in Vancouver in November with Garneau in attendance. One piece was sold at a fundraising auction, the second is installed at the Whistler site. The second painting will also be auctioned at the end of the Games. Garneau, who was selected as one of the "Metis 10", is featured in a CTV commercial about the project.
Another 100 artists from across Canada were chosen to participate in Screen 2010, a series of online exhibitions. An image of Garneau's painting A Strange Meeting, was curated into the exhibition, Naturally: The Way We See Things Now.
First Nations University of Canada faculty member Lionel Peyachew was selected by Coca-Cola for their Aboriginal Art Bottle Program. The program provides Aboriginal people across Canada the opportunity to experience the Olympic spirit, while showcasing their art and culture to the world. Fifteen artists were selected from over 100 Aboriginal artists across Canada. The artists, both amateur and professional, are First Nations, Inuit or Métis. The artwork was unveiled regionally, across the country, throughout the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay and profiled during Games. An independent adjudication panel conducted the review. Peyachew's sculpture, made of buffalo wool, is titled Buffalo Run.
Department of Theatre faculty member William Hales collaborated in the work NiX, "a fairy tale for the end of the world." The work is produced by The Only Animal, a Vancouver-based theatre company that creates site-specific theatre in non-traditional settings. Constructed entirely out of snow and ice, the production is on display throughout the Winter Olympics. Hales received a Betty Mitchell award for his lighting design for the project.
Sessional instructor and MPS graduate Brett Bell was commissioned to make a short film for the Winter Olympics. Called Climb, it's the story of a rock climber who struggles to reach the summit of his objective-a city turned inexplicably on its side.
The True Jive Pluckers, a trio featuring applied music instructors Eduard Minevich (violin) and Stephen McLellan (double bass) along with guitarist Jack Semple, played the Saskatchewan Pavilion on February 15, 16, and 17.
In early January, the University of Regina's Chamber Singers under the direction of Department of Music faculty member Aaron Mitchell performed the official anthem at the 2010 Winter Olympics Torch Relay Ceremony when the Olympic torch passed through Regina.
"It's gratifying to see so many of our faculty members contributing in such significant ways to the Cultural Olympiad," said Sheila Petty, Dean of Fine Arts. "It's a reflection of the quality of artists that we have within our faculty. This brings great honour, both to the Faculty of Fine Arts and to the University of Regina."
For more information on Waterfall, click here.
To view Naturally: The Way We See Things Now, including the work of David Garneau, click here.
For more information on Lionel Peyachew's Buffalo Run, click here.
To view a photo of William Hale's NiX lighting design, click here.
To view Brett Bell's film Climb, click here.