By Muneerah Bee
Singapore shopping mall The Cathay has commissioned London-based artist Whatshisname and local creative studio Mighty Jaxx to create four super-sized balloon dog sculptures, in an effort to creatively integrate contemporary art into the shopping landmark.
The colourful quartet is part of the artist’s nostalgic world of balloon animals named POPIKI — a popular series of art collectibles developed by the artist and the creative studio.
POPIKI by Whatshisname reimagines familiar balloon models as happy real-life animals and Whatshisname hopes to stimulate inspiration, unleash creativity and evoke a sense of wonder in his viewers with this playful series. POPIKI also pays homage to pop culture by transforming ordinary subjects into contemporary artworks that can be enjoyed by masses.
The permanent installation at The Cathay comprises four brightly-coloured balloon puppies, mimicking various actions of real-life dogs. The most iconic silhouette of a pooping balloon dog in a striking red hue, POPek, stands four metres tall under the canopy at the main entrance of the building. Alongside POPek is a smaller two-metre long Happy POPek in a cool turquoise, playing with a ball in a matching colour. A little further down the atrium, stands the cheeky two-metre PEEPek, in a vibrant yellow, raising a leg to do what dogs do, on the pillar beside the Automated Teller Machine (ATM). The last of the series is the two-metre long hot pink Howling— a new design that is making its worldwide debut appearance through this installation and can be found beside the directory board on the ground floor.
“The Cathay hopes to inject a little playfulness and delight in the moods of our shoppers as they are greeted by these cute, colourful and quirky installations when they visit the mall. As The Cathay is located within the Bras Basah Bugis precinct – the arts and cultural district of Singapore – the installations are in line with our direction to enliven the mall as an art, entertainment and leisure destination to create new experiences for our shoppers,” said Lena Tan, group marketing manager of Cathay Organisation.
The POPIKI installations are on permanent display now at the ground level of The Cathay.