Paris Olympic tapestry weaves together heritage of art and sport

Olympic organisers this week unveiled the official Olympic Games tapestry based on a design by Franco-Iranian artist Marjane Satrapi. The brightly-coloured triptych gives pride of place to the Eiffel tower and two new urban sports incorporated into the competition.

The central panel features the easily recognisable metal latticework of the Eiffel Tower and a city skyline. The silhouette of a male athlete in blue and a female athlete in red sprint across a globe towards the Olympic flame.

The left panel represents a javelin thrower in yellow, under a moon beside one of the bases of the Eiffel tower, an allusion to the poster for the Paris Olympic Games in 1924.

The right-hand panel has silhouettes in black and green of a skateboarder and a breakdancer (known as ‘breaking’ in France), two of the four sports newly integrated into the Olympic program.

The tapestry was inaugurated at France’s official furniture supplier Le Mobilier national in Paris in the presence of the artist on Tuesday.

A group of breakdancers was invited to perform on the slick parquet floors.

A group of primary school children were also invited to trim the threads at the bottom of the tapestry.

Three years of work

Measuring more than three metres high and nine metres wide, the tapestry took three years to make.

It was handwoven by eight artisans from the workshops at Manufactures Nationales des Gobelins and Beauvais using 60 kilogrammes of wool dyed in France but originally from New Zealand.

“The weavers with whom I collaborated asked me not to overload the design, not to go too far into detail,”she added.

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