The Olympic Cauldron has won the Visual Arts prize at this year’s South Bank Sky Arts Awards ceremony hosted by Melvyn Bragg in London. What was certainly the centrepiece of last year’s Olympic Games, the Cauldron warded off stiff competition from the Olympic Velodrome.
The Olympic Cauldron was designed by the English designer Thomas Heatherwick, who is known for his inventive use of materials and engineering in public sculptures and monuments. The Cauldron was a ‘magnum opus’ of surprise theatre, and nothing of the like had been seen at any previous Olympic Games.
Each of the 204 nations delegated a team member to receive and look after a beautiful copper petal, which was laid out in a designated spot at the opening ceremony. These petals were then lifted skywards by a thin and almost invisible wire. One by one the petals took position besides the Olympic torch making one huge beautiful flaming flower.
At the closing ceremony the opposite occurred, and all the polished copper petals were returned to the nations to take back to their homeland with their names inscribed upon them, symbolising the great togetherness that is the Olympic spirit.
This was an absolute masterstroke by Heatherwick, and no one could deny that the designer earned the prestigious Visual Arts award.
Part of the unique appeal of Heatherwick’s Olympic Cauldron is that it managed to blur the boundaries between sport and the arts in a spectacular fashion.
The London 2012 Olympics’ opening and closing ceremonies did more than rival the Beijing Olympics which was certainly aesthetically stunning; they managed to entwine the artistic nature of sport and vice-versa.
As Lord Bragg said at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards:
“2012 was a truly extraordinary year for this country, not only in sporting endeavours but across the arts.”
Talking about the winners at the Sky Arts Awards, which included Skyfall winning the best film, Hilary Mantel winning the Literary Award, Parades End and Twenty Twelve being awarded the Drama and Comedy awards for BBC 2, and the National Theatre winning the Theatre Award for its production of the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Lord Bragg added:
“This list of most deserving winners is testament to the richness of artistic talent we have at work today and I am delighted that we are able to celebrate and honour them as they deserve.”