This April British Paralympic athlete, David Weir, raced to victory: winning his fifth title in the London Marathon. This recent success adds to his plethora of awards, including Gold medals for 800m and 1500m at the Beijing Olympics 2008. Weir is currently training for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, however, he managed to take time out of his rigorous training schedule to collaborate with one of the Terminal 5 Expo Fine Art Gallery’s resident artists: Teresa Witz.
Teresa Witz is a renowned portrait artist, who finds inspiration in subjects who show absolute dedication, focus and ambition in their relevant field. In the lead up to the 2012 Games, Teresa has found herself drawn to the athletes who, currently in training, are working tirelessly and with unrelenting enthusiasm for their chosen sport. In her portraits Teresa captures a moment in history, both in the subjects life and in a wider sense capturing a moment in British history. In a centuries time Teresa hopes: “future generations will view [her] work as a lasting depiction of an Olympic and Paralympic Athlete in the 2012 Games”.
In the lead up to their artistic collaboration, Teresa was invited to spend the day at David Weir’s training ground in Sutton. Teresa has strong memories of the day: “[Weir’s] concentration, focus and stamina were incredible and by watching him train I became much more aware of the tremendous discipline and dedication needed to train for such a momentous sporting event”. This first meeting inspired initial photographic work and sketches to find the perfect composition for the portrait. However, it was not just composition that Teresa was interested in, after meeting this serious and inspirational paralympic athlete she had a strong desire to portray “his strength of character, directness and drive to succeed”, qualities which have helped him win so many Gold medals to date.
Teresa’s life size black and white portrait now stands in the Terminal 5 Expo Fine Art Gallery, in the Landside Departure Hall. Teresa has indeed captured the heart of the individual. David Weir’s dedication is radiated through his pose and expression and the composition evokes the speed of the race and a beautiful fluidity between David’s body and his racing chair.
The Terminal 5 Expo Fine Art Gallery displays a variety of stunning works of art both inspired by and depicting the journey towards the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. As Teresa Witz states: “many thousands of travellers passing through Heathrow Airport have a unique opportunity to view many works of art, which highlight and celebrate the dedication and achievements of these amazing individuals. I am extremely proud that my portrait of David Weir is among them”.