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Confucius-inspired art collection adorns Ovation of the Seas

The work of Chinese artist Bieli Liu located in the rotunda (Photo: Mary Bond)
Ovation of the Seas, debuting this week, boasts a vast 11,000-piece, $4.5m art collection that was assembled to represent the ship’s destinations and its guests and inspired by the words of Confucius: 'Wherever you go, go with all your heart.'

The collection, which includes a 33ft Panda mum and her baby and the first moving sculpture at sea was curated by London-based Peter Millard and Partners and features contemporary pieces from artists from around the world.

'The true essence of a Royal Caribbean holiday is to broaden travellers’ horizons by introducing them to new and unexpected adventures and that includes the dynamic art we feature onboard our ships,' said Michael Bayley, president and ceo Royal Caribbean International.

Ovation features unexpected and destination-inspired artwork, unique pieces and interactive art that will surprise guests at every corner, Bayley commented. Between 30-40% of the art is by Chinese artists, whilst 15% is UK and Australian he added, reflecting the markets the vessel is visiting.

Bound to be popular for photo stops is a Mama and Baby Giant Pandas designed by a UK-based artist Jo Smith. Perched atop the SeaPlex on deck 15, the piece depicts a mother panda and her cub, reaching out to one another. Considered a symbol of good luck and a national treasure in Chinese culture, the peaceful creatures with the distinctive black and white coat were curated with Ovation’s primarily Chinese guests in mind. The pandas are also a playful nod to the cruise line’s newly announced partnership with World Wildlife Fund.

Together, Mama and Baby weigh approximately six-and-a-half tons. Mama stands approximately 33ft tall from the deck to the top of the sculpture, while Baby is approximately ten feet tall.

Smart art abounds on the ship with more Quantum class high-tech pieces. Stunning is 'Sky Wave,' created by New York-based Hypersonic and Boston-based Plebian Design. It is the first ever kinetic moving sculpture at sea. The installation pivots and curves at different points to mirror the flow of both wind and water. Further inspiration was also taken from the ship’s movement, culminating in a piece that combines both maritime elements and engineering.

Each petal in Sky Wave is made of handcrafted fiberglass and varies in length to hone the flawless rolling sway. Located on deck 5 just in the Royal Esplanade, the eye-catching, carefully crafted art piece was commissioned specifically for Ovation.

The elevator art on Quantum class is known for selfie-taking, and Ovation sports all-new imagery from Chinese photographer Huainan Li’s series, The World of the Senses. The collection of ten pieces features the futuristic faces of women accented in metallic hues and sporting glasses that reflect a variety of whimsical scenes.

Located in the rotunda, which connects mid-ship’s Jamie’s Italian and Vintages, the work of Bieli Liu, a Chinese artist who played into the natural movement of the ship with an adaptation from her 'Lure' series of installations. The sculpture was created to fit the rotunda location and represents an ancient Chinese legend depicting the red threads that connect Chinese children to their soulmates.

The installation is designed to suspend from the ceiling forming a vibrant and energetic piece that responds to subtle air currents and movement as the red coils turn, and strands of thread become entangled.  

Figures from artist Zheng Lu are located outside Two70. The sculpture – inspired by the artist’s father, a Chinese poet – weaves Chinese symbols together in a delicate fashion.

Heading into the Royal Theatre, artist Dominic Harris engages show-goers with an interactive piece titled 'Flutter Wall.' The 120-inch screen showcases butterflies on a black canvas that seemingly fly away as guests touch them.