Grasshopper lantern, theatrical prop, bamboo/twine/glue/silk, designed by Eamon D'Arcy, made by Charles Gillespie at the Ceremonies workshop, used in the 'Arrivals' segment of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, Sydney 2000
Designed by Eamon D'Arcy, this grasshopper lantern featured in 'Arrivals' - a theatrical segment in the Opening Ceremony for the Sydney Olympic Games. Along with other Asian-inspired props, it represented the Asian cultures that arrived in Australia through migration. With its pale green shade, the lantern complemented the yellow props and costumes that echoed the yellow Olympic ring - a symbol of the Asian continent.
Prop maker, Charles Gillespie, tested several lantern prototypes before selecting the grasshopper design. Made from split and soaked bamboo, the frame was bent into shape, tied with twine and glued into position. Green, hand-dyed silk covered its surface and concealed the wired lighting within (this was connected to a battery pack strapped to the carrier's waist). Hoisted on a bamboo pole, the lantern rose above the yellow sea of performers who represented Asian migrants.
Described by the NSW premier Bob Carr as 'the greatest spectacle Australia has produced', the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games took place at Stadium Australia, Homebush Bay on Friday 15 September 2000. Though the ceremony featured anthems, speeches, oaths, flags, pop singers and a marching band, its daring conceptual sequences ('Deep Sea Dreaming', 'Awakening', 'Nature', 'Tin Symphony', 'Arrivals' and 'Eternity') will be remembered as the major imaginative works. Each segment commenced without interruption, following on from the last to form an overall narrative. The purpose was to project a national image to a worldwide audience, to form the world's vision of Australian culture. This image embraced tolerance, social progress, multiculturalism and reconciliation, as well as nature, history and creativity. Designed to stimulate emotional responses from the audience, these segments delivered a refreshing mixture of youth, naivety and larrikinism.
Directed by Lex Marinos, the 'Arrivals' segment looked at Australia's history of migration. A joyful and powerful celebration of multiculturalism, it comprised floats representing five continents with costumed dancers symbolising new arrivals. These represented all the cultures, races, creeds and religions that are now part of the Australian nation. The groups cascaded into the arena in the order Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and Oceania - the five regions that are symbolised by the Olympic rings. Huge masks and spectacular costumes were displayed within those groups. The costumes were designed by Jenny Kee (Africa and Americas), Lisa Ho (Asia), Peter Morrissey (Oceania) and Norma Moriceau (Europe). The climax saw the arrivals join together to form a giant human mosaic. Then they dispersed, leaving behind a large crowd of 2000 children, symbolising Australia's hope for a future of tolerance and understanding.
Designed by Eamon D'Arcy, this grasshopper lantern featured in 'Arrivals' - a theatrical segment in the Opening Ceremony for the Sydney Olympic Games. Along with other Asian-inspired props, it represented the Asian cultures that arrived in Australia through migration. Several lantern prototypes were tested for the Asia float though only the grasshopper style was selected.
Prop maker, Charles Gillespie, constructed the grasshopper lantern at the Ceremonies Workshop at Eveleigh. Made from split and soaked bamboo, the frame was bent into shape, tied with twine and glued into position. Green, hand-dyed silk covered its surface and concealed the wired lighting within. Leading down the bamboo pole, the lighting wires connected to a battery pack attached to the performer's waist.
This prop was carried by performers on the 'Asia' float - part of the 'Arrivals' segment in the Opening Ceremony for the Sydney Olympic Games. The ceremony was held at Stadium Australia, Sydney Olympic Park, on 15 September 2000.
Made for and owned by the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, and donated to the Powerhouse Museum after the Games.