Teresa Witz: Legacy
Teresa is delighted to exhibit her series of Olympic and Paralympics portraits this summer at the Terminal 5 Expo Fine Art Gallery in Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf. The Heathrow exhibition of original artwork will be available to view throughout the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and features a series of ten life-size full body portraits supported by a series of head and shoulder portraits of inspiring Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Teresa’s life-size portraits will be printed onto outdoor structures and installed around the Jubilee Park in Canary Wharf and the smaller portraits will be on exhibition at the Terminal 5 Expo Fine Art Gallery and in the Canada Place Mall’s Window Gallery. Over the last four years Teresa has immersed herself in the London 2012 Games to create legacy of work for this momentous occasion in Great British cultural history. In a centuries time Teresa hopes: “future generations will view [her] work as a lasting depiction of Olympic and Paralympic athletes in the 2012 Games”.
Teresa Witz is an internationally renowned portrait artist, who finds inspiration in subjects who show absolute dedication, focus and ambition in their relevant field. Born in Cyprus and brought up in Plymouth, Teresa now lives near Stratford and the Olympic Village and Stadium. Whilst painting in her studio Teresa has watched the Olympic site transform around her, a view which has inspired and informed her art. Similar to the athletes she depicts, Teresa is constantly striving to train and develop herself with; a BA(hons) from the Wolverhampton College of Art, a certificate in Art Therapy from the Birmingham School of Art, studying Fine Art Practice at the Sir John Cass School of Art , an MA in Fine Art from the University of East London and most recently a Doctorate in Fine Art from the University of East London. Since receiving her doctorate Teresa has exhibited across the UK, joined the BT Art of Sport initiative and is a resident exhibiting artist at the Terminal 5 Expo Fine Art Gallery situated in Great Britain’s host Olympic Airport: Heathrow.
The Cultural Olympiad is defined as the period of four years between the celebrations of the Games. Similar to the four year period of training and preparation for athletes, Teresa Witzs Cultural Olympiad has been spent travelling around the UK meeting training athletes. This preparation has enabled Teresa’s Olympic dream of creating an exhibition of legacy portraits for the London 2012 Games. With the support of the BT Art of Sport project and the Terminal 5 Expo Art Gallery, where she displays her work, Teresa has had the opportunity to meet a variety of dedicated, inspiring athletes representing a wealth of sport and sporting achievements. Athlete Victoria Barr comments on her experience working with Teresa: “This was a great opportunity for me to work with such a talented artist. From a few snap shots, Teresa created this amazing life-size painting. The detail that Teresa captured was fantastic, from head to toe. It has been a pleasure to be involved in Teresa’s superb art work for the London 2012 games and I am sure everyone who views the paintings will be in awe of each, as I am”.
Teresas exhibition of Olympic and Paralympic portraits includes portraits of athletes including Oscar Pistorius, Mark Hunter, David Weir, Victoria Barr, Vanessa Raw, Jeanette Kwakye and Perri Shakes-Drayton. In the summer of 2010 Teresa spent a particularly memorable day with Paralympian David Weir MBE, who counts four medals at the Beijing Olympics amongst his achievements. Teresa recalls: “[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”. It was this meeting that prompted Teresa to move from head and shoulder portraits to full body portraiture: she felt that an increase in the size of her artwork would also increase the impact of the powerful Olympic legacy message.
Teresa looks back at her Olympic journey: The last few years have been incredible. I am honoured to have had the unique opportunity to actually meet and spend time with these inspirational athletes, and to take on the challenge of creating paintings that capture the dedication, passion and unique personality of each athlete. I have attempted to capture each athlete at the brink of the move between being an anonymous hard working hero to becoming a widely recognised sporting champion, a change which their experience at the 2012 Games could bring.”
Teresa Witz’s wonderful Olympic and Paralympic inspired work can be viewed in the Terminal 5 Expo Fine Art Gallery from 11th July and at Canary Wharf from 23rd July.