The art of travelling well

Brittany Ferries has always shown a carefully curated selection of original art aboard its ships, and its new vessel Galicia will be no exception.

"As a region, Galicia is quite distinctive from the rest of Spain, in its climate, its culture and its coastline," says Kimberly Poppe, the artist who worked alongside Brittany Ferries’ Strategy Director Catherine Querné to commission the new ship's collection.

"We wanted to capture that in an authentic way, and to reveal something about Galicia before you've disembarked."

The artwork chosen encompasses a wide range of media, but focusses on photography. The 'Klunderbie' duo of Nienke Klunder & Wiglius de Bie are Dutch artists and photographers who now live in Spain. They have worked for Christian Dior, Swarovski and Elle, and for Galicia were commissioned to create their distinctive, meticulous yet playful still lives, landscapes and portraits.

Galician photographer Xan Padron contributed images of Galicia's fortified villages, or 'castros', and the region's older inhabitants and their traditions. There's Kimberly's own, contemplative photography too, made on a trip around the region's often-deserted coastline. But there are also paintings from Galician artist Javier Ortas and New Yorker Mark Van Wagner, graphic design from Noemi Biro, and the work of six Galician women poets printed and displayed on the walls.

The ship's second artistic theme is 'Las Meninas', or the ladies-in-waiting. The original painting of a young princess and her two attendants with their distinctive hooped skirts by the Spanish master Velázquez has been endlessly reprised. Picasso and Dali both reinterpreted the Meninas, and it has even inspired a major public-art festival in Madrid, in which around 20 life-size Meninas statues are created by artists and displayed in the city's streets each Autumn. Brittany Ferries acquired two of 2019's statues, and will display them in the Galicia's C Club VIP lounge alongside a canvas of the original, prints of some of Picasso's work and twenty smaller Meninas statuettes by different artists.

"The photography for Galicia was absolutely my most unusual commission, and my most exciting," says the photographer Xan Padron. "Galicia is a land I really love, and it's an honour to represent it like this."

"Our jobs are never the same," add the Klunderbies, "but this is definitely the first time that we've made art to travel continuously between two countries. That's new to us, and sounds very romantic."