annabel eyres

Artist Annabel Eyres, the former Olympic rower chosen to show her work at Paris’ upcoming Olympics, is also exhibiting at City’s Oxfordshire Artweeks.

Having learnt to row at Pembroke College, Oxford when studying art at Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, she rowed in the women’s Oxford-Cambridge boat race and competed with the GB rowing team in the Double Scull at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

Annabel continues to row and was in the Women’s Veteran Boat Race last year at Henley. This year, however, her Olympic focus is on her art, art inspired by Olympic sports, which she will be exhibiting both in Summertown for Artweeks at Hedges Law (Artweeks venue 203), and at the Paris Olympics 2024.

1992 Annabel Eyres copy

So how did Annabel’s art come to be featured at ehe Paris Olympics 2024? “When they set up the modern Olympic games,” Annabel explains, “their intention was to be broader than the sports themselves and from 1912 – 1948 medals were also awarded for art inspired by sport including architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture.

“So since 2018 the IOC has reinvigorated this idea, bringing in artists-in-residence and sport-based artwork in public spaces to promote Olympic ideals and values through art, and the parallels between art and sport, their beauty, inclusivity and so on.” 

annabel eyres

Annabel’s art centres on paper cuts showing the changing shape of the human form participating in sports, emphasised through strong fluidity and clean lines, using collaged art or painting. 

“As a child, I was always drawing little figures and as an artist I’ve always been drawn to the human body, its dynamism and range of movements,” she says. “I’m endlessly amazed by the extremes of what it can do,” Annabel says.

Read our guide to an alternative Oxfordshire Artweeks here

In addition to rowing, Annabel’s new work for 2024 shows equestrian sports, swimming, running, and surfing: “It was surprising to acknowledge the links between surfing and yoga in terms of balance, strength and flexibility,” says Annabel, as well as breaking – or breakdancing.

Lucy Hutchison

Annabel is exhibiting with artist Lucy Hutchison who trained as an illustrator, and now works in a brightly coloured, naive style. For Artweeks 2024 she is exhibiting abstracted paintings of boats. 

“My mother was Irish, and I’ve spent every summer on the West Cork coast since I was a child, messing around on boats and watching the local fishermen’s comings and goings with the ever-changing colours of sea and sky. I’ve always loved the line, shape and beautiful colours of their boats. They have a timeless quality,” she says.

Other CITY artists inspired by the human figure during Artweeks are renowned international sculptor Johannes von Stumm in New College gardens and cloisters READ ABOUT IT HERE, alongside other works in glass, stone, and metal, as presented by the Oxford Festival of the Arts, (Artweeks venue 247 book here)

Welcome – Johannes von Stumm – at New College. credit Erica Longfellow

Another note-worthy figurative artist, tucked away in the heart of Jericho, is contemporary sculptor Rachel Ducker whose incredible wire figures are inspired by the shape and movement of the human form, her vibrant and emotive sculptures in wire, plaster and bronze capture movement and character, the hair framing each of Rachel’s sculptures has become her trademark. Artweeks venue 234

Rachel ducker ‘seated’

The Louie Memorial Pavillion is host to the work of Botley Drawing Group (Artweeks venue 442), a collective of talented artists including Deborah Williams, who meet weekly for life drawing classes which concentrates on depictions of the human form at Artweeks venue 167

Botley Drawers Deborah Williams

And catch photographer Natalia Anderson, an Artweeks first-timer (Artweeks venue 518), and her everyday subjects which she has brought to life as part through her story-telling. She photographs the girls in everyday situations as if unaware, to bring life and interest to ordinary scenarios.

Natalia Anderson

Oxfordshire Artweeks runs until May 27, North and West Oxfordshire May 4-12, Oxford city May 11-19 and South Oxfordshire May 18-27. More details here