Abbotsford 2016 BC Summer Games president Steve Carlton had to dig into his personal contacts for the best way to bring the Games theme to life.
The slogan for this summer’s event is “Rise above. Reach beyond.” and Carlton sought out Canadian artist Robert Bateman to lend a hand. Carlton said he’s been lucky to have developed a connection with Bateman over the years.
“It dates back to my days in high school in Ontario when he was the art teacher at the school I was attending,” he said. “Years later I became the principal of Abbotsford’s Robert Bateman Secondary and our relationship developed.”
He said Bateman was the perfect person to contact for a way to illustrate the spirit of the BC Games. Carlton contacted Bateman’s studio, and the famous artist agreed to put something together. In December, Carlton and a group of Games officials traveled to his studio on Saltspring Island to see the finished work.
“All we gave him was the theme and he chose the eagle to represent it,” he said, of the finished painting. “He explained the eagle is appropriate because it’s a common bird in our area and how it’s known for its strength, beauty, and ability to rise above its obstacles.”
Carlton said the eagle has become the official image of the theme of the Games, and locals will become familiar with it.
“When you’re sitting in Robert Bateman’s studio and he reveals something he created for you, it’s a feeling of absolute joy, awe, appreciation and humility,” he said. “The painting is beautiful, and we want to infuse this image into our theme of “Rise above. Reach beyond.” to inspire competitors and everyone involved with the Games.”
Carlton said a replica image of the painting will be on display at several areas before and during the Games.