Aylesbury exhibition celebrates Paralympic heroes

Sophie Hahn
Sophie Hahn

A special exhibition commemorating the success of GB Paralympic athletes celebrates their victories against a backdrop of Grecian mythology in a display at the county museum.

In a series of remarkable photographs, many of them life size, the exhibition sees the athletes against backdrops of magical stories from ancient Greece that have captivated people for centuries, and that still reflect the wonders of human endeavour in today’s world.

Tanni Grey-Thompson

Tanni Grey-Thompson

Paralympians are some of today’s heroes, overcoming many things and winning a place in history, yet few of us know who they are and what their incredible stories are.

This exhibition, which will run at Bucks County Museum in Aylesbury through to Saturday May 13, brings together these heroes and their stories and connects them to the ancient roots to bring alive their extraordinary achievements to enlighten and inspire everyone.

The artist behind the project, Clare Newton, said: “I want to provoke a feeling of empowerment in my pictures. Each portrait is about a special person, who has achieved such incredible goals no matter what - it is important for us to recognise their achievements, because through recognition it also empowers us too, influencing the way we think about ourselves.”

Paralympians are responsible for winning seven times more gold medals than Olympians in a third of the time, yet little documentation of their achievement exists.

Photo artist Ms Newton set out to present an exhibition that creatively linked the heritage of the ancient Olympics with today’s heros, by making photographic portraits of the many GB Paralympians, whether they are veterans or current day champions, whose contribution to society is hugely important on many different levels.

The exhibition includes Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Paralympian wheelchair racer, as Hera, Queen of the Gods; and Sophie Hahn MBE, Paralympian track and field, as the Roman Goddess of Flowers.

The first part of the exhibition is in the main gallery of the museum and shows eight life size portraits of Paralympians, each portrayed in a setting relating to stories from Ancient Grecian Olympic mythology. In the adjoining gallery there are photographic portraits of Paralympians past and present, together with text labels highlighting their extraordinary stories.

There is also a display about Stoke Mandeville and the birth of the Paralympics as well as a torch used during London 2012 and Rio 2016.