World-leading body cast sculptor Louise Giblin unites five British sporting heroes, including 2012 Olympic contender Beth Tweddle MBE, (left) for the first time in her Mall Galleries solo, ‘Body Casting Olympians’.
Two days after the start of the Olympic Torch Relay, in an exhibition aiming to raise funds for the brain injury charity, Headfirst, Louise Giblin, Associate of the Royal British Society of Sculptors (ARBS) will be exhibiting highly detailed Olympian Series sculptures alongside the body casts of her famous models, photographs, bronze plaques and drawings.
Five Olympic, Paralympic and World medal winners modelled for Louise. The Private View, on May 22, will be attended by Kriss Akabusi, Darren Leach, Cheryl Baker, Headfirst’s Patron and Guy Portelli (the Dragons’ Den sculptor) among others.
The Olympian Series sculptures’ backs appear as stripped, stylised musculature, the fronts display detailed imagery of the Union Flag and the ‘greatest achievement’ chosen by the athletes: Beth Tweddle MBE, 7 times British, 6 times European and 3 times World Champion selected her 2009 World Gold at London’s O2 Arena; Kriss Akabusi MBE chose his 1984 Hurdles Silver at Los Angeles Olympics; as Dame Kelly Holmes’s double triumph was in the birthplace of the Olympics, she asked for Classical Athens; Sally Gunnell OBE chose her Olympic Gold in Barcelona; and Darren Leach wanted to commemorate four Sydney Paralympic medals.
Using a special technique of body casting a model and applying designs to the surface of the resulting clay torso, Louise creates a unique sculpture. The work is then moulded by professional technician Lorriane Grandi. Each is reproduced in a limited edition of up to 12 in cold cast metals or bronze.
The athletes are to receive one of their £9960 cold cast sculptures to keep or sell to raise money for charity, with others from the series being sold with a proportion going to Headfirst.
Beth Tweddle is to sell her sculpture to raise money for charity: “It was an amazing experience with some funny memories, these and photos of the finished piece will be treasured forever. I like the fact that my achievements can make a real contribution towards this worthwhile charity.”
Sally Gunnell, who also intends ‘selling my body for charity’ chose the inspirational wording, ‘Enthusiasm in your feelings, clarity in your thoughts and strength in your will’ to be carved on her torso as these were sent to her by great British athlete, David Hemery just before she won the gold at Barcelona.
Kriss Akabusi, who will be speaking at the launch in May is having his image cast in bronze: “Having my chest shaved as smooth as a baby’s bottom and being stuck in a cast for an hour or so are a small price to pay to have my body image preserved for time and eternity – so I’m very excited to see the finished article.”
Louise adds: “I’m impressed by people who commit to goals with determination as this makes them powerful; these Olympians are awe-inspiring both physically and mentally… This has been a great opportunity for me to work with extraordinary people, celebrate British success and to help raise money for a worthwhile cause.”