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Academy Sport Artist of the Year Eylanbekov to Sculpt for Eisenhower Memorial

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Sergey Eylanbekov, one of the world’s top sculptors and the United States Sports Academy’s 2004 Sport Artist of the Year, has designed the monumental sculptures which will form an integral part of the Memorial Core of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C. designed by the legendary architect Frank Gehry. The sculptures were designed in consultation with Gehry. Photo: United States Sports Academy

Sergey Eylanbekov, one of the world’s top sculptors and the United States Sports Academy’s 2004 Sport Artist of the Year, has designed the monumental sculptures which will form an integral part of the Memorial Core of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C., designed by the legendary architect Mr. Frank Gehry. The sculptures were designed in consultation with Mr. Gehry.

One composition of Eylanbekov’s bronze sculptures will represent Eisenhower as the 34th President of the United States, flanked by civilian and military advisers. Another composition of bronzes will represent Eisenhower as Supreme Allied Commander during World War II, with the 101st Airborne Division before their jump into France. Monumental bas-reliefs by Eylanbekov will also be a part of the sculptural composition.

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial will be located within a four-acre urban park on Independence Avenue, across from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and adjacent to the U.S. Department of Education. It will honor Eisenhower as both president of the United States and Supreme Allied Commander in World War II.

Eylanbekov’s pair of bronze torsos entitled “Venus and Mars” is featured at the entrance to the Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA) in Daphne, Ala. The Academy has dedicated the sculptures to Olympians Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco.

Prince Albert II, the ruler of the Principality of Monaco since 2005, is the only head of state who is a five-time Olympian (bobsled); he is also an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member. Albert’s wife, Charlene Wittstock, is a former South African Olympic swimmer who competed in the 2000 Summer Olympics. She now is a global ambassador for the Special Olympics movement. The sculptures were unveiled at the Academy in 2011.

“I admire the Academy’s relentless effort and ultimate great success in showcasing sport art to the world,” Eylanbekov said. “ASAMA’s unique collection contains important works of sport art by the artists from around the globe. I am proud of my relationship with the Academy.”

Born in Russia in 1960, Eylanbekov showed talent for art as a youth. At age 13 he entered the Moscow School of Fine Arts and at 17, he was accepted into the acclaimed Moscow Surikov Academy of Fine Arts. After six years of study at the Academy he graduated with honors.

During the tumultuous period of change that occurred during the Gorbachev era in the late 1980s, Eylanbekov moved to the United States and became a U.S. citizen. Speaking no English and desperately short of money, he came to New York and proceeded to work his way to the top of his profession. Since he came to America, Eylanbekov’s art has garnered praise worldwide.

Eylanbekov earned significant international attention in 2003-2004 for his sculpture, “Five Continents.”  The acrylic sculpture depicts six human figures, with one symbolizing Greece and the others depicting people from five continents of the world. The Olympic Rings are also in the sculpture. It won the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) Sport and Art Contest and was then entered into the international competition. Representing the United States and competing against entries from 39 countries, Eylanbekov’s sculpture won the IOC’s Sport Art Competition for the 2004 Athens Olympics. Previously, he was also one of the official artists for the Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2002.

Eylanbekov has been commissioned to create monumental statues of historical and political figures around the world. Among those were statues of second United States President John Adams and Continental Congress President and Massachusetts Governor John Hancock for the city of Quincy, Mass.; a statue of President Heydar Aliyev for the Diplomatic Academy in Baku, Azerbaijan; and his monumental bronze Peer Gynt and Three Herd Girls unveiled in Oslo, Norway in 2010. He created a sculpture for a gift from the Gabonese Republic to soccer legend Pelé at the African Cup of Nations, as well as the sculpture representing Dwight David Eisenhower for the global award by the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU). He has been awarded exhibitions at the United Nations headquarters in New York and the Museum of Modern Art in Moscow, Russia.

Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.

Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of nearly 1,700 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to www.asama.org.

By Eric Mann

Eric Mann is the communications assistant at the United States Sports Academy. Reach him at emann@ussa.edu

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