Yinko Shonibare: Globe Head Ballerina, Royal Opera House LONDON
'The Childhood Sense of Magic and Wonder'
by Deniz Caglar
A unique artwork by Yinka Shonibare, Globe Head Ballerina is the latest public sculpture by the artist behind the widely-acclaimedNelson’s Ship in a Bottle. The commission is produced by Up Projects for the Royal Opera House. Shonibare's sculpture depicts a life-size ballerina made using traditional sculpture methods, inspired by photograph of prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn and modelled upon Royal Ballet Soloist Melissa Hamilton, with a Victorian-style globe as her head - encased in a giant fiberglass 'snow globe'. The globe reflects the international work of the Royal Opera House and the universality of ballet as an art form. Typical of Shonibare’s previous work, the costume is a tutu made of Dutch for sale in the Indonesian market, the fabrics have become a symbol of African identity, having eventually been sold to the colonies in West Africa.
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”
The piece is displayed on the exterior of the Royal Opera House, the impressive building in the heart of London which has been playing host to major stars of the classical music world since 1858. Overlooking Covent Garden, the dancer will slowly rotate representing a moment captured from the stage of the Royal Opera House. The public commission, produced by UP Projects on the behalf of the Royal Opera House, will remain in situ on the exterior of the building overlooking Russell Street for five years.