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A vibrant, visual tribute to Olympic spirit

Portrait based on late Nodar Kumaritashvili infused with 'energy, colour and light'

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For the past month and a half messages of condolence, cards, flowers and other tributes have been placed at a makeshift memorial to Nodar Kumaritashvili, the young Georgian luger who died tragically just hours prior to the opening of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

More recently, VANOC CEO John Furlong made a trip overseas to Kumaritashvili's hometown to attend funeral services for the fallen athlete.

But the sombre start to the Games has also inspired one local artist to try and capture the undying spirit of the Olympics and Paralympics, and their athletes, on canvas.

Dylan Moffat has created a vivid, graphic-style painting featuring a Buddhist-inspired figure of Kumaritashvili surrounded by all-seeing eyes. The painting represents the world watching and natural, sacred geometric designs.

"Overall, there's a lot of energy, colour and light involved," Moffat explained. "I poured a lot of my energy and spirit into this painting, and I feel it's justified."

Moffat was in Whistler during the Olympics and felt the need to create something to commemorate his personal experience with the Games. But it does seem a bit strange that he chose to capture such a heavy moment.

"I really felt for Nodar. He was a 20-year-old athlete, I'm in my late 20s, I'm very athletic... but to see a guy so young instantly killed, I felt compassion for him," he explained.

Like so many others who live and play in Whistler, Moffat has also lost a number of friends in accidents over the years. He felt the need to show the spirit that drives these athletes to the limit.

"This is my way of thinking about those people."

The portrait, entitled Cosmic Luge Buddha, is both an exploration of loss and celebration of life.

"Life is really short and life is really fast, and luge guys go down a track at 150 kilometres an hour. We drive a car at about 120 kilometres an hour. Our lives can be taken away very fast."

Moffat hopes people will look at his portrait and remember, and perhaps even be inspired to embrace and enjoy life.

Though Moffat studied fine arts with a concentration in ceramic sculpture, he has continued to dabble in other mediums, painting, printmaking and creating black and white photography.

"I'm a little bit of a Renaissance man," he grinned. "I'm not Leonardo Da Vinci yet - I'm far from him - but I'm definitely working towards it."

Opting to use paint rather than creating a sculpture for the Kumaritashvili piece, the "introspective project" was also part and parcel of the process of "reinventing" himself as an artist.

"I just felt like that was a good way to capture Nodar's Olympic spirit, and capture my Olympic spirit, too."

Over the past five years of living and working in Whistler, Moffat has been setting down roots within the local artistic community, taking part in events like ArtWalk and exhibiting at the cozy Upper Village venue, The Fitzsimmons Pub.

But Moffat wanted to put this special Olympic piece front-and-centre. He has hung it in Creekside's newest mountainside restaurant, Prime Tapas Bar. The Kumaritashvili painting is currently hanging at Prime and is for sale for $2,010, with 50 per cent of the proceeds going towards WASP, Moffat's way of giving back to the Games and athletic community.

 

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