It’s not every day you see a 32-foot-tall giraffe hanging out on the deck of a cruise ship. Especially one wearing a bright yellow swimsuit.
But that’s the latest whimsical work of art to join Anthem of the Seas, the new Royal Caribbean ship that’s set to arrive in Southampton, UK, in mere days.
Affectionately dubbed “Gigi” by the ship’s crew, the lanky sculpture is now grazing up on the top deck, wearing a bright pink inner tube and yellow swimsuit (Cruise tip from Gigi: Always be pool-ready). Check out this video of Gigi’s installation:
“The purpose of my work is always to show something outside of its natural context,” says Jean-François Fourtou, the Paris-born, Marrakech-dwelling artist behind the installation. His previous work includes life-size completely upside-down houses, a stuffy library filled with mischievous life-like orangutans and a bedroom with giant-sized furniture.
At first, the artist planned to create a group of giraffes, but further brainstorming made him realize that a lone creature, twice the size of a real adult giraffe, would make an even bigger impact.
Fourtou found his inspiration right at home. He already had one giraffe statue in his own living room in Morocco. “She’s smaller, but still quite tall, and her name is Solange,” he says.
Creating an even larger version, one that could withstand the changing elements of the sea, was a special challenge for the artist.
“We wanted the material to look realistic, but it also has a lot of technical aspects to be able to travel on the ship through the sea. We worked with an excellent specialist to ensure the material would be resistant to sea water,” he says.
Technical intricacies aside, the saturated colors and realistic look certainly make Gigi stand out. Fourtou couldn’t be prouder for her to begin her journey at sea.
“I hope people will feel a big surprise — I hope they will laugh, and I hope some of them will feel something emotional because, for me, the giraffe seems almost human with her expression,” he says. “Much like being a father, you have to let the kids leave home, and I think it’s great that she’s going to see the world and have a great adventure.”