As the first anniversary of the 2012 Games approaches and the Olympic Park is poised to reopen as a brand new tourist attraction, it’s an excellent time to look back on the excitement and optimism that coloured London’s golden summer.
Tourists who pay a visit to City Hall can do just that thanks to a new exhibition organised by the Greater London Authority.
Last year, Nicholas Garland – a renowned artist and illustrator whose political cartoons have graced the pages of national publications like the Spectator and the Independent – was commissioned by the Mayor of London to record all aspects of the Olympics.
Using gouache, watercolour, ink and woodcut as his chosen mediums, Garland produced an astonishing portfolio of images that now hang proudly under the title Drawing The Games.
The exhibition shows that Garland wasn’t just attuned to the spirit of London 2012 – he was also fastidious in his attempts to document the proceedings from every angle. Alongside colourful and dynamic paintings of the Games’ highlights, then – such as the sporting events themselves and the opening and closing ceremonies – visitors will find vivid images that depict crowds, athletes and the park itself.
“Nicholas Garland was in the crowd, watching the sport and watching the people watching the sport,” said Boris Johnson.
“He was the ‘war artist’ of the biggest peacetime operation any city can be asked to put on and he has risen to the challenge spectacularly well. A look at his pictures and it all comes flooding back.”
Drawing The Games runs until July 31st, so those staying at hotel accommodation in London have one more week to see Garland’s paintings.
The exhibition is held on the second floor of City Hall, in the Chamber Gallery. The building – which serves as headquarters to the Greater London Authority – is open to the public from Mondays to Thursdays between 8:30am and 6pm, and on Fridays between 8:30am and 5:30pm.