Levan Vardosanidze - the London Olympic Art & Sport Contest Winner
23 August, 2012


The Olympic days in London kept all of us the members of the Georgian national team very, very busy. In addition to the Games to be attended, there were myriad other places which could not have been missed and plenty of important events to participate in. One of the most significant spots to be present at was the Guildhall Art Gallery of London where I went together with my team-mates Emzar Zenaishvili – the Olympic Games expert, Paata Natsvlishvili –

author and publisher and Alexander Kotorashvili – photographer.


The Guildhall held the Arts & Sports amazing exposition where we found the proudly erected prize-winning piece by our fellow countryman, the famous Georgian artists Levan Vardiosanidze, 55. He had named his wonderful work as ‘The Olympic Hymn’, reflecting the Olympic symbolism perfectly and comprehensively. Levan won the second prize for his very interesting Olympic art piece, and received 20 thousand dollars as a reward. Vardosanidze has participated three times in this Competition. Twice he won the second prize, and once he received the third place, which certainly is an outstanding result.

Responsible for the Sport and Art Contest is the International Cooperation and Development Department of the International Olympic Committee.  The contest enables each national Olympic Committee to further develop an active communication between arts and sports on national and international levels. Partnership of the Olympic side is created with the National Department of Arts and Culture to coordinate collectively and run the contest.  It is believed that this cooperation will help build the strategy in reaching a much wider audience. The IOC holds this contest during the Olympic year, and already, four contests have been held.  National Olympic committees receive information well in advance from the IOC with rules and regulations of the contest with clear deadlines. They also indicate the prize money for the contest: 30,000 dollars and a diploma for the first prize, 20,000 dollars and a diploma for the second and 10,000 dollars and a diploma for the third one. There are also five further diplomas for runners up. The National Olympic Committees are free to organize their national contests. That is exactly where Sculptor Levan Vardosanidze came out victorious from the first stage of the difficult contest. Incidentally, the idea of creating the sculptural Olympic Hymn had occurred to the artist about four years ago and it took him two years to turn metal into the living symbol of Olympism. The contest is open to artists from countries with a recognized NOC and will consist of two stages: a national phase and an international phase.

The three medal-winning and five diploma-winning works in each category of the  fourth edition of the IOC Sport and Art contest were exhibited at the Guildhall Art Gallery in London during the 2012 Games which started on 27 July. The works of the winning artists, who were awarded with a diploma and cash prizes, were selected from among the 68 entries submitted by an international jury. The winners in the sculpture category were: Martin Linson, USA (OMNIPOTENT TRIUMPH, bronze), Levan Vardosanidze, Georgia (OLYMPIC HYMN, bronze, brass, marble, wood, 108 cm in height) and Fernando SERRANO MUNOZ, Spain (THE CYCLING WOMAN Sapeli wood carving, treated with wax, rusty iron support). All of them now belong in the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Last Monday, I went to see Levan Vardosanidze at his workshop in Tbilisi together with the same team-mates of mine to congratulate him personally with his outstanding Olympic success in arts. When I had a thorough and pleasurable look at his sculptures, displayed in his workshop’s exhibition hall with great taste, charm and style, I was no longer surprised that he had won the contest. That happy afternoon, I heard many stories of Levan’s life. One of those stories impressed me the most, although not without a sense of inconvenience. He told us that one of his best and most well-known figures (bronze in marble) was stolen not very long ago from one of the display halls in Tbilisi without any track to follow up and even without any hope to be ever found again. Well, the frustrating fact could be translated into a serious complement for the artist but it is still very hard to digest a loss of that magnitude. Even we, his friends and guests of the moment were totally flabbergasted at hearing the shocking story. On the walls of Levan’s workshop display hall, there were hanging a couple of wonderful paintings. We certainly asked him if he was the author of those pieces. As it became known, the painter of those attractive and thought-raising pictures was his wonderful wife Nino Gogolashvili who also had turned out to be an amazing cook, having treated us to a variety of many delicious yummies of her personal imagination and the cuisine mastery. Bravo! What a happy couple! They are pulling it together in arts and in life in absolute harmony and understanding. Their love and cooperation has told on everything around. The effect seemed to be clear and present: every sculpture, stylishly perched on their elegant stands or gracefully sitting on the shelves, every painting on the walls, every color, every idea, every word, every heartbeat and every whiff of their artistic breath is gorgeously presented to viewers, overwhelming them with a sense of irrefutably refined continuity of human existence.


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