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Sculpture installed on side of Royal Opera House

Yinka Shonibare's Globe Head Ballerina modelled on The Royal Ballet's Melissa Hamilton.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

19 June 2012 at 8.10pm | 5 Comments

A new and unique artwork by Yinka Shonibare, the artist behind the widely-acclaimed Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, has been revealed; installed on the side of the Royal Opera House.

The sculpture, entitled Globe Head Ballerina and featuring a life-sized, spinning ballerina encased within a giant ‘snow globe’, was based upon a photograph of Margot Fonteyn. Typical of Shonibare’s previous work, the dancer has Victorian-style globe as her head, reflecting the international work of the Royal Opera House and the universality of ballet as an art form. The piece will stay in place for five years and is part of the London 2012 Festival.

Of the commission, Yinka said:

“This piece is about bringing the childhood sense of magic and wonder to the façade of the Royal Opera House in a very grown up piece of public sculpture that can be enjoyed by all. It’s like a life-size fairytale ballerina jewellery box that will spin”

Yinka based the ballerina on Royal Ballet soloist Melissa Hamilton. The figure has been made using traditional sculptural methods and then cast in fibreglass. The dancer is wearing a tutu made of fabrics synonymous with Shonibare’s work.

The artist will curate this year’s Deloitte Ignite from Friday 31 August – Sunday 2 September.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

19 June 2012 at 8.10pm

This article has been categorised Off stage and tagged art, Globe Head Ballerina, London 2012 Festival, sculpture, Yinka Shonibare

This article has 5 comments

  1. Sahlen responded on 19 June 2012 at 3:34pm Reply

    It's an insult to Melissa!

  2. Paul responded on 19 June 2012 at 10:49pm Reply

    Piazza or Bow Street? Hope its more impressive "live".

  3. Funny that, when I think of Margot Fonteyn I always imagine her with a Victorian globe on her head.

  4. sps responded on 28 June 2012 at 1:29pm Reply

    It doesnt work in the location - its totally distorted looking up at it spinning.
    At a distance it looks cheap.

  5. Anne responded on 29 June 2012 at 1:20pm Reply

    Having read this news item I realised that I had walked past the "sculpture" several times without noticing it. So last night I made a point of going to look at it during the Trojans interval. The road was busy but no one was looking at the piece. The last time ROH placed a sculpture it was the bulls head outside the Bow Street entrances.. an imposing piece placed where it could be really appreciated by the public. This commission is totally unsuitable for its location, I suspect it might have been quite eyecatching if placed at ground level. As it is, it seems a total waste of money and I didn't think that the Opera House had money to waste!

This article has 2 mentions elsewhere

  1. African Art in London:  Deloitte Ignite Preview
  2. » Yinka Shonibare Bloggers Event at Yorkshire Sculpture Park:  [...] by Yinka Shonibare MBE.   The fourth plinth was home to Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle in 2010 and Globe Head Ballerina adorns the wall of the Royal Opera House, dressed in bright purple and encased in giant snow globe, endlessly pirouetting for passers-by. [...]

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