Omer Arbel and the Olympics

Every medal won at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will be unique — a first in Games history. The medals were unveiled last Thursday to great critical acclaim.

As a collaborator in the position of industrial designer of the 2010 Olympic medals, Vancouver-based Omer Arbel gave the medals an undulating form meant to represent, in abstraction, ocean waves, drifting snow and the mountainous landscape surrounding Vancouver.

On the medal’s surface, Arbel applied two large master artworks of an orca whale (Olympic) and raven (Paralympic) by Corrine Hunt, a Canadian artist of Komoyue and Tlingit heritage based in Vancouver, B.C. Corrine’s artwork was produced at a large scale, and then a specific, cropped section of the larger art was applied to each of the individual medals, making each unique.

A silk scarf printed with the master artwork will be presented to each medallist along with his or her meda. All medallists will be able to see how their medal connects with those awarded to other athletes at the Games and to make the artwork complete. Like a puzzle, it takes all of the individual medals to complete the artwork.