The official logo for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games has been unveiled and it is creating quite a stir, particularly in British Columbia.
Nicknamed "Ilanaaq", which means friendship, the logo was chosen from over 1,600 submitted entries. The stocky colourful figure is meant to be an inukshuk - a directional marker used for centuries to point wayward Inuit travelers to safety - but Canada's leading expert in inukshuks says that the figure certainly is not. According to Norman Hallendy
, an inukshuk is a collection of stones assembled by the northern Inuit to serve as a navigational beacon, and can take many shapes. Stone figures that take on the form of a human, as does the Olympic logo, are called innunguaq.
The use of the northern Inuit symbol, has perplexed the West Coast natives. "It's kind of like a poke in the eye to first nations people and first nations artists," said Chief Edward John of British Columbia's First Nations Summit, which represents 150 native communities. "Does inukshuk represent Canada? I hardly think so. It represents the North. Put it this way: If there were games in Yellowknife and the logo was West Coast totem poles, do you think they'd be happy up there?" Others maintain that the icon looks like Gumby or even "like a multi-coloured, flattened out Michelin Man
, created from little plastic flags like the ones used to stick in Tinker Toys."
According to Olympic organizers, the figure is a stylized, contemporary interpretation of the Inukshuk and is meant to represent all of Canada and not simply just the West Coast. It was designed to be a symbol of Canada's hospitality.
It would seem that although "Ilanaaq" means friendship, this little guy has found a host of enemies among his critics.Expat Talkback:
What is your opinion of the Olympic logo? Does it represent Canada?