Olympic and world champion swimmer Hannah Miley came face-to-face with a life-size portrait of herself after it was unveiled in Aberdeen.
Robert Gordon University (RGU) commissioned the portrait to mark Hannah’s success in the pool and invited Aberdeen painter and Gray’s School of Art graduate Stuart Allan to work on the project.
The painting, measuring almost two metres square, captures Hannah poised to dive into a swimming pool. It was unveiled on Friday, October 4 at the reception of RGU: SPORT, where it will remain on display, in front of invited guests from the north-east’s sporting, arts and business communities.
Hannah (24), who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Sports and Exercise Science from RGU this summer, combined the project with preparations to defend her gold medal in the 400m individual medley at next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
She said: “It was a lot of fun working with Stuart on the project, he’s done a fantastic job and the portrait is incredibly life-like. Seeing how the painting developed has been a fascinating experience and I couldn’t be happier with the result. I still train at RGU: SPORT and to see it each time I come in will give me a great lift as I continue to improve my performance in the pool.”
Hannah, who studied at RGU’s School of Health Sciences, was also an RGU: SPORT Scholar and benefitted from a tailor-made package of support from the university which allowed her to combine her studies with the demands of training and competing against the best swimmers in the world.
She said: “The scholarship scheme was very helpful and meant I could cover the costs of attending university, allowing me to focus completely on studying and my training. It’s been a huge boost to my preparations for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where I hope to defend my title and win more gold for Scotland.”
Stuart (29), graduated from Gray’s with a Degree in Fine Art in 2004, and accepted an offer from Keith Grant, Head of Painting at the School, to work on the project.
He said: “This was a very exciting project to work on and I jumped at the chance to show what I could do. The portrait was a joy to work on and once we decided on what pose to develop for the painting it didn’t take too long for the final piece to take shape.
“I love working on portraits of those who inspire me and projects like these are a great way to recognise the achievements of the subject and bring them together with an artist.”
Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, the Principal of RGU, said: “We’re proud to honour Hannah with this wonderful portrait which will be displayed at RGU: SPORT to mark her achievements. It takes an artist of significant talent to create a stunning portrait like this and I’m sure a lot of people will be keen to see it when they visit our state-of-the-art sports facilities.”
He added: “Hannah has been a fantastic champion of the university and we look forward to continuing that relationship now she has graduated. Hannah is still a familiar face at Garthdee as she trains on campus and we hope that the success she continues to enjoy will inspire other promising athletes to apply for sport scholarship support at the university so we can help them to reach their potential.”
Ross AndersonCommunications Officer | Health and Sport