Globe Head by Yinka Shonibare. Image: The Royal Opera House
Image: The Royal Opera House
Un Ballo in Maschera by Yinka Shonibare. Film still
UP Projects developed and delivered a public commission on behalf of the Royal Opera House, by artist Yinka Shonibare, MBE who created a sculpture for the façade of the building.
The Royal Opera House commissioned artist Yinka Shonibare, MBE to create a unique artwork which is displayed on the exterior of the Royal Opera House, overlooking Russell Street in Covent Garden.
The sculpture, featuring a life-sized ballerina encased within a giant ‘snow globe' is inspired by a photograph of the legendary ballerina Margot Fonteyn, prima ballerina absolute of The Royal Ballet.
The dancer rotates slowly and appears to encapsulate a moment stolen from the stage of the Royal Opera House. The dancer has a replica Victorian world globe as her head reflecting the international work of the Royal Opera House and emphasizing the universality of ballet as an art form. The ballerina figure is modelled on Melissa Hamilton, Soloist with The Royal Ballet and was made using traditional sculptural methods and is cast in fiberglass.
The dancer wears a tutu made by the Royal Opera House Costume Department, using fabrics synonymous with Shonibare's work and implying an African identity. The fabrics; Indonesian in influence and originally manufactured by the Dutch for sale in the Indonesian market have become a symbol of African identity having eventually been sold to the colonies in West Africa.
The use of ballet is prevalent in Shonibare's work. Previously he has used dance to explore cultural and gender ambiguities as well as referencing political debates on the nature of power. His film Odile and Odette (2005) was made in collaboration with ROH2 at the Royal Opera House and featured dancers from The Royal Ballet and Ballet Black.
Globe Head Ballerina was commissioned by Royal Opera House and produced by UP Projects.