Olympic Agora virtual: where sports meets arts and culture

  • Arts
  • Sunday, 01 Aug 2021

A larger than life light sculpture standing more than 4m tall. A gallery of Olympic torches and medals from around the world. An interactive multimedia installation ​​featuring a deconstructed Olympic podium.

Arts and culture may make strange bedfellows with sports.

But the Olympic Agora cultural hub, set in the historic Nihonbashi district of Japan’s capital, aims to show that a confluence like this is not only possible but sticks true to the Olympic spirit.

This space is inspired by the public meeting places, or "agoras" of Ancient Greece, the birthplace of the Olympics, where people gathered to eat, drink, sing, trade and exchange ideas.

Don't worry if you can’t visit this first ever Olympic cultural hub by the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage (OFCH) in person.

The Olympic Agora cultural hub shows that sports, art and culture can unite. Photo: HandoutThe Olympic Agora cultural hub shows that sports, art and culture can unite. Photo: Handout

It doesn't matter if you are living in Kuala Lumpur or Cape Town, the Olympic Agora welcomes all as it rolls out virtual tours for a global audience.

Featuring massive outdoor installations, artworks and floors of Olympic regalia, the pandemic-proof Olympic Agora is designed to be a vibrant public space for cross-cultural dialogue and the expression of arts, culture, creativity and the values linked to the Olympic Games.

There is an exhibition of artworks by Olympian and Paralympian athletes and a photographic exhibition by leading Japanese artist Kawauchi Rinko.

Put on your best sporting cap, grab a can of energy drink and get ready for a virtual tour worthy of an Olympian.

Head over to the Olympic Spirit exhibition and be inspired by all the artefacts on display and listen to the uplifting stories of sports persons from around the world.

Makoto Tojiki’s Solidarity + Collaboration (2021). Photo: HandoutMakoto Tojiki’s Solidarity + Collaboration (2021). Photo: Handout

The online tour is divided into four categories - The Olympic Spirit, The Power Of History/Culture, The Power Of Sport and The Power Of Hope.

A gold medal display and other iconic artefacts from the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland is one of the highlights of this exhibition. Click into the artefacts for a more detailed description.

If you are into art, head over to the Contemporary Art @ Olympic Agora section. Featuring images and descriptions of the commissioned works, this is where you want to be for a true Olympic art experience.

One of the highlights include French artist Xavier Veilhan’s installation piece called The Audience (2020). This is the first ever permanent legacy commission by the OFCH as part of its Olympic Art Visions programme and will remain in Nihonbashi after the Games.

French artist Xavier Veilhan’s installation piece called 'The Audience' (2020). Photo: InstagramFrench artist Xavier Veilhan’s installation piece called 'The Audience' (2020). Photo: Instagram

Featuring five life-size spectators of different ages, genders and ethnicities, the sculptures pay tribute to the audience of the Games.

Another highlight is Japanese artist Makoto Tojiki’s Solidarity + Collaboration (2021). Installed at Fukutoku Plaza in Nihonbashi, this larger than life light sculpture, made of steel mesh, stands more than 4m tall and depicts two relay runners who are passing the baton.

Finally, hover over to Olympian Artists In Residence - Noren Curtains Project. Launched in 2018, this project allows Olympians and Paralympians to produce and present new artworks during or between editions of the Olympic Games.

For the Tokyo Olympics, five Olympians and one Paralympian participated in the programme remotely from different locations around the world in the months leading up to the Olympic Games.

More info here.

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