The top image was part of my proposal for the Artists Taking the Lead arts competition in 2009. The image below is part of the design for the official opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic games in London. Although shortlisted as a concept to mark the 2012 Olympics my proposal was ultimately unsuccessful.
At the time there were some grumblings about the ultimate recipients of the award in the Yorkshire region by all of the other shortlisted Artists. The main one being that the winning bid was not Artist led but a consortium of Leeds based cultural institutions.
At the time, though suspicious of the result myself, I felt that complaining about this would only look like sour grapes. Who wants to enter a competition with a foregone conclusion? Especially one that would require months of work, research and planning?
I received an email at the time from one of the other finalists explaining their concerns over the fairness of the competition and expressing some doubt over the legitimacy of the Leeds Canvas bid. Since then I believe all the other finalists were brought into the Culutural Olympiad in some capacity and their concern about the unfairness and potential illegality of the ATL competition faded.
It seems that more information about the inner workings of the Leeds bid and its relationship with the Arts Council has emerged, which if true is troubling to say the least.
or if you prefer in the Artists Newsletter
Which brings me to the reason for this post.
Two weeks before the opening ceremony my friend Dominic who assisted with the art work for my proposal, pointed out the bottom image above to me. I was quite startled by its parallels with our art work, and perhaps even more startled that the whole concept echoed my proposal so thoroughly.
After the opening ceremony I began receiving messages both online and by text etc. People wondered if I had some involvement with the planning of the opening. I had not. I hadn’t watched the opening ceremony but the gravity of the situation became very apparent. See this article in Arts Professional Artist suspects foul play over Olympic Opening Ceremony.
Please understand, I do not think I invented Spiral Mounds or hills, but the similarities conceptually and visually here are very strong. I believe the Olympic opening ceremony would have been very different visually and conceptually without our input.
In light of the questions being raised over the legitimacy of the competition I entered and the lack of any form of attribution or credit for our work I now feel that I have no choice but to highlight these issues. I would be interested in your views, so please leave a comment and share this article through your social networks.
Best Wishes, L.M.S.
Update: November 2012…
UPDATE: Thursday 15 th November 2012
Its come to my attention that an extensive and wildly inaccurate version of this story has appeared in the Daily Mail, from the outset it is slightly troubling, the headline being rather over demonstrative and dramatic. I should make it clear that I am not trying to fleece Danny Boyle or LOCOG or indeed ACE, and I do not think I invented hills! In fact my design was largely inspired by Silbury Hill. The Devil, as they say, is in the detail. I will be making a separate post about these details here very soon. For now please read:
The comments are particularly interesting and I’m heartened to note that despite the vague representation of my grievance there are many members of the public that are supportive. I guess it is something that will firmly divide opinion. I think the images above speak for themselves!