At the end of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics no two Olympians will hold the same medal. Throughout this year’s games, the Olympians have claimed personal victories and pursued their dreams. To commemorate such a journey each athlete who leaves the games triumphant is awarded with a unique gold, silver, or bronze medal. Each medal is cropped from a larger masterwork created by Corrine Hunt (b. 1959), an Aboriginal artist in Vancouver of Komoyue and Tlingit heritage. The one-of-a-kind designs took two years to become a reality.
Corrine Hunt began designing jewelry and furniture in 1985 and has since created installations and large-scale sculpture. She received a degree in anthropology and Latin American studies at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. Hunt resides in a Komoyue village on an island in Vancouver and creates art that unites her ancestral past with the art of the present, blending traditional design with contemporary materials. Her artistic interest was encouraged by her uncle, Norman Brotchie, who introduced her to the Kwakwaka’wakw art of engraving.
Hunt’s masterful design for the 2010 Olympics incorporates a stylized orca. Orcas are powerful animals as individuals yet they would struggle without their pod, emphasizing the importance of community and teamwork. This underscores the meaning behind the Olympic Games as the athletes carry the pride of their own heart, their family, their community, and their nation. For the Paralymic medals, Hunt similarly used an image of a raven to represent determination. Each medalist also receives a scarf decorated with Hunt’s entire masterwork so they can see where their unique medal fits into the design. The undulating structure of the medals was created by Omer Arbel. The organic forms allude to the mountain regions of Canada and add to the exclusivity of the Vancouver 2010 medals.
About the Author- Breezy Diether is currently an education intern at NMWA.