Beach towel, theatrical prop, screenprinted and quilted fabric, used in 'Deep Sea Dreaming', Opening Ceremony for the Olympic Games, Sydney, 2000, designed by Dan Potra, printed by Lani Durlandy, St Peters, Sydney, 2000
Representing an oversized beach towel, this multicoloured quilt is one of the most memorable props from the Opening Ceremony for the Sydney Olympic Games. The main character in the ceremony, the 'Hero Girl' (played by Nikki Webster), arrived onto the arena carrying the beach towel and other seaside accessories. Spreading out the towel, she lay down, fell asleep and dreamt of an underwater world with deep-sea divers and giant sea creatures. This segment was called, 'Deep Sea Dreaming'.
Designed by Dan Potra, the towel is made of fourteen connecting panels that illustrate thongs, sunglasses, fish, starfish, beach umbrellas and other seaside themes (each side is made of seven panels). These were printed by Lani Durlandy of St Peters in Sydney. Multicoloured and exaggerated in size, the towel was visible both to the television audience and the live audience that exceeded 110,000 people.
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.
After the horses from the 'Welcome' segment left the arena, the first narrative sequence, 'Deep Sea Dreaming', began. The 'hero girl', played by the 13-year-old Nikki Webster, skipped onto the arena in a pink sundress. She applied sun cream to her nose, stretched, lay on her beach towel and dreamt of the ocean. Her dreams afforded the director of this segment, Meryl Tankard, the opportunity to transform the stadium into a deep ocean. Eleven cables were used, strung 45 m above the arena across the 111 m space between the grandstands on either side. The hero girl soared high above the arena in a special lift harness, swimming and somersaulting through the ocean, among giant sea creatures. Translucent jellyfish drifted past her, and then various banner fish, sea-dragons, an eel, a mantaray, a ground-based worm, a nudibranch, a Spanish dancer, squid, lion fish, even a fearsome barracuda. Of the 800 people involved in this segment, 150 were schoolchildren taking the part of a giant school of fish. This object was worn by one of these children. The hero girl was sucked slowly downwards among a swirling mass of fish until white-ochre spirits took charge of her and carried her to the stage where the tribal dancer Djakapurra Munyarryun, the Songman, guided her through the following segments of the ceremony.
Resembling an oversized beach towel, this multicoloured quilt was designed by Dan Potra for use in the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games. Its fourteen printed panels illustrate thongs, sunglasses, fish, starfish, beach umbrellas and other seaside themes (each side is made of seven panels). The bright colours and exaggerated size made the towel visible to television viewers and the live audience.
The towel is made from fourteen screenprinted, polyester panels and a cotton tassel trim. Lani Durlandy screenprinted the panels in Saint Peters, Sydney in 2000.
This towel (theatrical prop) featured in 'Deep Sea Dreaming', a segment in the Opening Ceremony for the Sydney 2000 Games. It was carried onto the arena by the main character, the 'Hero Girl' (played by Nikki Webster). 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.