Last modified: 2014-02-16 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: olympic games | truce flag |
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image located by Zoltan Horvath, 16 February 2014
This is the Olympic Truce Flag designed by the Edmonton resident and
graphic designer, Wei Yew. An explanation of the flag is as follows:
"Wei Yew was invited by the International Olympic Committee to participate in a world-wide by-invitation-only logo competition for the centennial year of the Olympics. More than 250 design firms and individuals submitted entries.
On the short list were his design and two submissions from the U.S., from which Bruce Blackburn's design was chosen for the centennial logo and Wei's for the Olympic Truce initiative. The Truce is a revival of the traditional moratorium on armed conflict observed during the ancient Games. In 1993, A U.N. resolution called for countries at war to declare a truce during a period from one week before the opening of the Games until a week after the closing. For the first time in modern Olympic history, flags with this Olympic Truce symbol were flown during the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Games, and the warring factions in Sarajevo paused to observe the Truce.
The Olympic Truce is symbolized by a dove of peace against the traditional Olympic flame. The festive "effervescent" confetti making up the flame suggest celebration of the human spirit. For the past 20 years, the Olympic Truce has celebrated humanity by bringing adversaries together, such as in the 2000 Sydney Games when South Korea and North Korea paraded into the stadium together during the Opening Ceremony under a single flag representing the Korean peninsula. The 2004 Athens Games witnessed the participation of Afghanistan and Iraq, two countries bloodied by conflict, demonstrating the unifying, reconstructive power of sport."
The symbolism of this flag was explained as follows:
"The Olympic Truce symbol was inspired by the ancient Greek tradition of Ekecheria, when fighting stopped to allow warriors to compete against one another in athletic events," says Yew. Yew created the truce logo after being one of 200 individuals and companies from 75 countries invited by the International Olympic Committee to design a symbol marking the 1996 Olympic Centennial.
He was one of three finalists, and while he didn't win, he was later told his work was "particularly intriguing," and was invited to create a "Truce" work that would be used not just once, but at all future Olympics.
"The logo features a dove of peace against the traditional Olympic flame, made up of festive, effervescent confetti to suggest celebration of the human spirit," says Yew.
To celebrate 2014's Year of the Horse, as well as the 25th Olympic Arts Festival in Calgary during the 1988 Winter Olympics and his own company's 33 years of design practice in Canada, Yew is staging a Feb. 12 fundraiser for CKUA in the radio station's building on Jasper Avenue.
Between Feb. 13 and 27, a multi-disciplinary exhibition of Yew's work will also be featured in the CKUA foyer.
The exhibition will display creations that have propelled the Singapore-born designer to international fame since his arrival in Canada in 1976.
Some of my favourite highlights of Yew's career include the 1985 Communications Arts magazine design award for his Edmonton Valley Zoo logo, which features its elephant mascot. That year, only six logos were chosen from more than 10,000 submissions from around the world.
Yew later snatched from under the noses of Calgary designers a $2-million design contract to showcase the 1988 Calgary Olympics Art Festival. (He opened an 'office' in Calgary "to take the heat off" and brought the project home $200,000 under budget.)
In 1991, he was invited by the IOC to produce a book, The Olympic Image -- The First 100 Years, to mark the Olympic centenary. The book took five years of research.
Yew, who has taught at the University of Alberta and MacEwan University and has lectured extensively, also designed multimedia displays that won Edmonton both the 2001 ITU World Triathlon Championships and the IAAF World Athletics Championships.
Yew wins design competitions and awards every year. But 2012 was a special year for him. "I was delighted to be recognized with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal," he says.
Many Edmonton charities have benefited from the designer's talents, but the CKUA fundraiser will receive a special gift. "I have the only Olympic Truce flag existing outside the Olympic family," says Yew. "We will auction it."
Yew hopes his Olympic Truce flag might bring about a break in the Syrian conflict.
"For the past 20 years, the Olympic Truce has celebrated humanity by bringing adversaries together, such as in the 2000 Sydney Games when South Korea and North Korea paraded into the stadium together under a single flag representing the Korean Peninsula," he says.
"The 2004 Athens Games witnessed the participation of Afghanistan and Iraq, two countries bloodied by conflict, demonstrating the unifying, reconstructive power of sport.
"I hope the Syrian Olympic Committee will remind its government about its signatory pledge to the Olympics. I am keeping my fingers crossed as this is the beginning of the first week of the truce before the opening of the Games."
Darrell Neuman, 16 February 2014