From the onset of the modern day Olympics art and sport were believed to be a perfect marriage. The heart and soul of the Games is to foster and encourage the synchronization of the body and the mind. Art inspires sport and sport inspires art.
As a result of this belief, the early history of the Olympic Games featured competition in the arts as well as sports. Events included architecture, sculpture, painting, literature, and music. Winners of these events were also awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals.
The goal of the Cultural Olympiad is to focus on the harmonies between culture and sport and to exemplify the values of the Games: friendship, respect, and excellence. While artistic endeavors are no longer contested for medals, culture and art continue to play a prominent role. This is most evident in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. However, exhibits and performances serve as precursors to the games and occur throughout the region at the various venues during the Games.
In the 2016 Rio Games this cultural event is called Celebra. It will feature six areas of artistic creation: literature, popular art, music, performing arts, visual arts, and dance. Celebra begins in April and runs through September. Innovators are being challenged to focus on the cultural diversity of Brazil by designing events encouraging audience participation, humanizing public spaces, and bringing inspiration to every day life. All Celebra events are free to the public. The list of events that will make up Celebra has not yet been made public, however below are some highlights of Brazilian culture that may become prominent themes.
Literature: Brazil has a rich literary history dating back to the 1500s. Exhibits may feature the works of well-renown authors such as:
Popular Art: One of the most diverse categories, some of the Brazilian culture and tradition highlighted may include:
Music: Brazilian music has its origins in African, Portuguese, and European styles. The music is full of passion and energy and is a very integral part of the Brazilian lifestyle.
Visual Arts: This category encompasses the art of painting, sculpture, cinema, and photography and may feature the work of:
Dance: Brazilian dance, like it’s music, has its roots in African, Portuguese, and European styles. These dances exhibit soulfulness, sensuality, and passion.
Performing Arts: This category will likely be a blend of many of the aspects of all the others above. The goal is to bring these artistic endeavors to common spaces throughout Rio and Brazil; to bus stations, cafes, parks, open public spaces, trains, and boats just to name a few.
The impact of the cultural events has long reaching outcomes for the host country. Brazil has center stage in the months leading up to the Games and a worldwide audience for the two weeks while the Games are played. For many host countries, these events herald a boost in tourism and in doing so also boost local economies.
Check back monthly for more Olympic updates and commentary as I countdown to Rio 2016! For information on all things Olympic in Rio 2016 visit http://www.rio2016.com/en. To follow Team USA visit http://www.teamusa.org/.
These are my thoughts, personal stories, and personal opinions. Often triggered by something that transpires throughout the course of a day.
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