The Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy Challenge


As a first for the marque, Rolls-Royce motor cars have invited three emerging artists to create a piece inspired by its iconic Spirit of Ecstasy figurine as part of an inaugural biennial initiative for Muse, Rolls-Royce’s art program.  

Initially created by Charles Sykes in 1911, the figure has since become one of the world’s most recognisable symbols of luxury. It is synonymous with the sophistication, style and timeless perfection of the cars it embodies.  

This new chapter in the motif’s legend has seen the three winners of the challenge create a work of art in the textile medium, each inspired by the mascot and unveiled at London’s Cromwell Place.  

The three winners, Scarlett Yang, Ghizlane Sahli and Bi Rongrong, have been handpicked by a jury consisting of Rolls-Royce’s design director, Anders Warming, Yoon Ahn, who oversees design at Dior Men, Tim Marlow of the Design Museum London and Sumayya Vally, founder of Johannesburg’s Counterspace Studio. 

Working with textiles, Bi Rongrong’s design features imagery sourced from ‘urban skins’, a series of surfaces and spaces of a city related to Spirit of Ecstasy and the materials used to create a Rolls-Royce motor car.  

Ghizlane Sahli created a suspended sculpture using recycled plastic combined with white silk and gold thread to echo the qualities of the figurine.  

Scarlett Yang created her piece using new algae extract and silk cocoon protein material to make a dynamic textile artwork.  

The pieces were debuted in London and will travel worldwide on a global tour. 

Words by Jaz Grewal