Meet Iona’s artists


Our new ship Iona will showcase more than 4,600 works of art by 61 artists, making her home to the world’s largest floating art collection. Read on to meet three of the artists whose works will be featured, and find out how you can win your way to Iona’s naming ceremony and have your own artwork shown on board.

Iona is a ship of records and firsts, from her jaw-dropping SkyDome (the first of its kind in the industry) to her status as our most environmentally friendly ship yet. Fitting, then, that she’ll also be home to the world’s largest floating art collection.

Iona will showcase more than 4,600 artworks when she launches in May 2020. The multi-million pound collection is being curated by art expert Tom Tempest-Radford (who also selected the art for Britannia) to complement and enhance the ship’s interior design. 

Tom Tempest-Radford

Art expert and curator of Iona's artwork

With such a mammoth task at hand, where does the process of selecting the artworks begin? Tom says: ‘First, we need to understand the brief for the entire ship and for the individual rooms and spaces; from there, we brief our art researchers and start looking at thousands of artists before whittling down the list to the best of the best.’

Continuing the long-held P&O Cruises tradition of supporting British artists, the majority of the work will be sourced in the UK. Much of the art will reflect key elements and characteristics behind Iona’s design, and the collection will take inspiration from the sea, the wonder of nature and the sense of outdoors.

‘The sea is the star on Iona,’ says Tom. ‘I’ve chosen each artist due to the quality of their work and sheer passion for their chosen subjects, as well as the ability to match their pieces to specific areas on Iona.’

The art will vary in style and form and will include paintings, photography, mixed media, reliefs, glass, sculpture and textiles. Some of the 61 artists will make single artworks for Iona, while others will be commissioned to make hundreds of pieces. In some cases this will involve an entirely new approach to creating bespoke pieces of art on a large scale.

‘We’ve looked for the best quality art by artists who are consistent and who are passionate about what they do’, says Tom. ‘When guests step on board Iona for the first time, I hope they will feel an overall sense of real quality – a “wow” moment from the large commissions and a sensitivity from some of the works in the quieter spaces.’

Meet the artists

We searched the country to find the perfect pairings for Iona. Here, we meet three of the key artists who are creating incredible works for our new ship

Sebastian Chaumeton

Sebastian has just started his third year at the Chelsea College of Arts in London. He has been commissioned to produce computer-generated vector designs for the wall panels in Scubas, the children’s club on Iona. Primarily a sculptor, Sebastian has recently been creating large-scale public murals. The results have become public collaborations, featuring themes varying from pop culture and politics to the mundane and magical. ‘We live in a highly saturated world of information,’ Sebastian says. ‘We are overwhelmed with images and sometimes we don’t know what to look at anymore. My public murals aesthetically mimic this digital overload whilst retaining a more human presence in the brushwork and public interactions. It seems fitting that I am the youngest member of the Iona art team and I will be creating work that features a range of dancing sea-themed characters for the youngest guests on board.’

Natalie Muir

Natalie has been commissioned to create 400 circular pieces of art for Iona’s three main staircases. The Manchester-based artist produces hypnotic works of art that are a fusion of colour and texture in a circular format. Inspired by aerial photography, her work with resin paints is done mostly using a blowtorch rather than a traditional paintbrush. Natalie says: ‘I love this form of art because it gives me a freedom to produce pieces that are totally original, making the possibilities of my art endless. They will be reminiscent of swirling water on a sandy beach, the movement of the sea and the churn of water around the ship.’ This commission has enabled her to move from working on her kitchen table to renting her own studio.

Johnny Morant

Johnny is a figurative painter who has been commissioned to create four paintings for the Mediterranean restaurant. The large-scale works will feature flora and fauna found across the Mediterranean region; a rich green palette that will help bring the outside in for guests. A graduate of art schools in Bristol and Bournemouth, Johnny has lived and worked in London and Amsterdam. He has recently completed a sixmonth voyage in the Mediterranean, the subject of his most recent exhibition. He said: ‘My work deals with recollection and experience. I travel extensively to report the essence and feel of a location. For the last few years my paintings have explored the warmth and vibrancy of the Mediterranean. Macro examinations of the plants complement sweeping landscapes as I endeavour to echo my surroundings with a suggestive and instinctive application of oil paint.’