Dubai International, together with British Council, the UAE National Olympics Committee and the UAE National Paralympics Committee, today unveiled a photographic exhibition by British artist Gabriella Sancisi celebrating the UAE’s top sportsmen and women most likely to represent their country at the 2012 Olympic Games in London in July.
The exhibition was officially opened by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports and CEO of Emirates Group, at an event attended by Guy Warrington, British Consul General to Dubai; Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths; Richard Cotton, Country Director British Council; and several of the Olympians featured in the photographs.
The exhibition contains a total of 24 portraits – 19 Para-Olympians and five Olympians including HH Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum – taken by Sancisi during a visit to the UAE last year. The larger than life portraits are displayed on 13 two-metre high structures with each photograph accompanied by a quotation by the athlete, allowing the viewer to share their aspirations.
In total, 18 Olympians were nominated by the UAE National Olympics Committee and 20 Para-Olympians by the UAE National Paralympics Committee, to represent the UAE at the Games.
Open to the public, the photographs will be showcased in Dubai International’s Emirates Terminal 3 Departures Hall from 1st May to 31st July 2012 and is the latest stop on a year-long tour of the UAE.
“This exhibition is a great tribute to the young men and women who will carry the hopes of an entire nation when they represent the UAE at the Olympics and Paralympics in London later this year. Representing your country on the world stage is not only a great honour but a huge responsibility. The exhibition allows the millions of passengers that pass through our airport to share in this great achievement and support our athletes as they embark on this journey,” said Sheikh Ahmed.
“The exhibition is a tremendous demonstration of the sporting, artistic and cultural links between the UAE and the United Kingdom. The UK is buzzing with excitement as it prepares to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer and this event is a wonderful prelude to that. This is a very proud time for all those participating in the Olympic and Paralympic Games and I wish all the UAE athletes the very best of luck in London this summer,” said Mr Warrington.
The artist’s previous artworks include developing the project Frontrunners for the Photographers’ Gallery in London that mixed text and images to record the sporting aspirations of youth living in the London boroughs bordering the London Olympic site. She was commissioned by the British Council to produce a similar series of portraits of young British athletes for the 2011 PhotoEspana Festival in Madrid, followed by a similar set of images of young Argentinean footballers, before being invited by the British Council to undertake the photography exhibition in the UAE.
Olympians is organised by British Council, in collaboration with the UAE National Olympic Committee and the UAE National Paralympic Committee, and in partnership with British Embassy, UK Trade and Investment, Emirates Foundation and BBC Arabic.