Didgeridoo, painted wood, used in the hand-over ceremony, Closing Ceremony for the Atlanta Olympic Games, 5 August 1996
On 5 August 1996, a team of 300 Australian schoolchildren, Australian Olympic athletes and Aboriginal performers featured in a seven-minute segment of the Closing Ceremony for the Atlanta Olympic Games - an event in which Atlanta yielded its Olympic responsibilities to Sydney, the next host city. Traditional and contemporary Aboriginal dancers performed to a chorus of twelve didgeridoos, including this example that bears yellow, white and russet designs. Other performers included children dressed as waratahs, sulphur-crested cockatoos and kangaroos riding bicycles, while a team of Bondi lifesavers carried inflatable tubes that connected to resemble the Sydney Opera House.
Segment director, Ric Birch, selected these themes to create "an indelible, young, inspiring image of Australia entering the third millennium". Together, they would help culminate ten days of Olympic sport and would turn the world's attention to Sydney, host of the 2000 Olympic Games. Though the performance was well received in the United States, it was met with great criticism in Australia where the inflatable kangaroo costumes were considered unforgivably kitsch by many. This embarrassment would not subside until the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games (also directed by Ric Birch) that amazed Australian audiences and received international acclaim.
Surrounding the didgeridoo is a painted design of yellow, white and russet dots and bands.
This and eleven other didgeridoos were made for the Closing Ceremony of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
This didgeridoo was played in the hand-over segment during the Closing Ceremony of the Atlanta Olympic Game. In this seven- minute segment, didgeridoo players and contemporary and traditional Aboriginal dancers performed alongside 300 school children dressed as waratahs, sulphur-crested cockatoos and kangaroos riding bicycles.
Made for and owned by the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and donated to the Powerhouse Museum after the Games.