Sunday, February 14, 2010

Speaking of Love, from Greece to Lotusland


Greece, the country where the games were born, was the first country to enter BC Place Stadium in Vancouver last night for the opening of the Winter Olympics. The ceremonies included Canada’s first people, and while it was a Disneyfied version of their rich cultures, and far from the Ancient Games, I was happy for this inclusion, which seems to be more than a surface gesture. It was great to see artist and designer Corrine Hunt tapped to co-design the medals. This not only felt local to me, it was: I’ve watched Hunt develop her art over several decades, being part of a formidable community of artists and friends in Vancouver, and deeply, deeply rooted to people and place.

But how do we express this connection to place? The arts community in Vancouver has been a little divided on this issue. Particularly given the fact the opulent Olympic display comes on the heels of unprecedented slashing of arts programs in the province where the games are being held. Worse there is an excess of security and silencing of public opinion. So, while on the one hand it’s great to see who is included, on the other the city’s young poet laureate refused to take part in the Olympic festivities in reaction to the oppressive “muzzle clause” that has tainted the relationship between artists and the Olympics. It was a bold move. Perhaps as bold a move as it is to write a love poem and to try and feel hopeful. Particularly these days when—skepticism and irony is the dominant strand. When there is so much that is unsettling.

For the entire post: Speaking of Love, from Greece to Lotusland

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