22-Foot-Long Drawing Explores the Olympics Through a Trio of Cities and Greek God Zeus

Zeus Drawing by Oscar Oiwa


Some cities feel like they are a part of you. Whether it’s the architecture, people, or culture, the connection you have can feel like an extension of your soul. Artist Oscar Oiwa has this type of special attachment to different cities across the globe. Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Paris, and New York deeply inform his work. It's exemplified in his new exhibition titled Metropolis, which features fantastical versions of the cities drawn in marker and charcoal.

Oiwa captures these places in a hyperrealistic style where the sprawling drawings encapsulate a flow of disparate imagery. His triptych work titled Zeus is at the center of the Metropolis show. It features the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, and Paris and uses recognizable elements (such as the Eiffel Tower) to mix memories, realities, dreams, and geography alongside the Olympic games.

The Olympics bridge the gap between history because of their connection to both ancient Greece and the contemporary world. In Zeus, the places converge in their details as the iconic games take over the cities—in this case, personified as the Greek god Zeus—just like in real life.

There are positive and negative effects when the Olympics come to a metropolis. “The impact of major sporting events like the Olympics on big cities is far-reaching,” Oiwa explains. “They bring about infrastructure development, economic growth, international exposure, and social-cultural impacts, leaving a lasting legacy. However, they also pose challenges such as high costs, environmental impact, and social issues that require effective management and careful navigation.” Oiwa captures these contrasts in his monumental work.

At 22 feet long, there is a lot to see in Zeus. If you have the chance, catch this work as well as other pieces by Oiwa in his exhibition Metropolis that's on view at NowHere in New York City until July 16, 2023.

In artist Oscar Oiwa's work titled Zeus, he's created a sprawling pen drawing inspired by contemporary cities and the ancient Olympic Games.

Zeus Drawing by Oscar Oiwa


The triptych work features three cities that Oiwa feels a special connection to and that have also hosted the Olympics.

Zeus Drawing by Oscar Oiwa

Rio de Janeiro

The massive work is 22 feet long.

Zeus Drawing by Oscar Oiwa

“Zeus” in its entirety

Oscar Oiwa: Website | Instagram 

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Oscar Oiwa. 

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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