Public Sculpture: 10,000 Table Tennis balls, Nicola Anthony, & Us

It’s been a little while since there was an update from my studio. But you may have guessed we’ve all been hard at work, my team has grown, and something extraordinary has been in development, here’s our latest update:

nicola anthony and ping pong table tennis balls

Over 10,000 balls, 5000 children, 5000 dreams and aspirations come together for launch of public artwork OUROBOROS during the SEA Games

Singapore based British artist Nicola Anthony is creating a sculpture with a community of 5000 students from local schools, made of more than 10,000 table tennis balls. Nicola is a selected artist for the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games Torch UP! Programme, creating a light-sculpture that will be located in the iconic Marina Bay of Singapore during this international sporting event.

Having exhibited internationally, and created artworks which involve writing on thousands of Saga seeds (Singapore), sacks of rice grains (UK), and printing words on 50,000 Sugar cubes (sponsored by Tate Britain museum UK), the artist is pleased to create this new sculpture involving students writing on thousands of ping pong balls which will provide the artist with the raw material for the sculpture.

The artwork called Ouroboros takes inspiration from Table Tennis, a sport that Singapore holds dear.

The energetic and active ‘creative process’ of 10,000 bouncing balls will slowly transform as each student writes an aspiration on their ping pong, becoming a large sculpture which will be: “a little less bouncy in its final form but fixed into a shape which represents energy and movement – it’s almost like crystallising molecules. The spheres will gently light up in response to audience interaction”, says the artist.

Nicola being interviewed by CNA at Yu Neng Primary School: Image by The Living Project
Nicola being interviewed by Channel News Asia at Yu Neng Primary School: Image by The Living Project

The public sculpture Ouroboros is due to be unveiled on 23rd May, for display during the SEA games.

So what’s the idea behind the sculpture?

Working with her Community partner IQkidz, and materials sponsor STAEDTLER Singapore, the artist takes on the theme of the extra-ordinary in each of us.

“The individual balls will form the spheres, dots and correlations of a beautiful pattern. The surface of each single sphere will showcase a written aspiration or dream from members of our community: With the aid of the team at IQkidz, more than 5000 students and children will be writing a sentence to become part of a meaningful and representative artwork.” says the artist.

Using the metaphor of the individual balls and aspirations, Ouroboros represents the joining together of people into family, community, and society, ‘us’. It aims to empower, to give a sense of belonging, & remind us that even when we feel small as individuals in such a big world, that we each have great significance: we can make a difference individually and as a team, and our actions and aspirations can develop each of us, and therefore society as a whole.

Students at Yu Neng Primary School
Students at Yu Neng Primary School
One of the Ping Pong balls in Ouroboros
One of the Ping Pong balls in Ouroboros

About Nicola Anthony:

Nicola Anthony is an international artist based in Singapore and working with local communities.

In the past year Nicola has exhibited at London’s Royal College of Art, The Substation Gallery, Ikkan Art International, Victoria Theatre, National Library Building, NTU and The Arts House, as well as being invited to create a 6 metre welcome sculpture for the entrance of the international Affordable Art Fair at the F1 Pit building.

Around the world she has exhibited at the Serpentine Gallery Project Space (London), the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (USA), Shinjuku Creators Fiesta (Tokyo),  & featured in shows around Southeast Asia, London & LA. Her artwork has received sponsorship from Tate Britain, & been exhibited in Tate Modern’s ‘No Soul for Sale’. She studied at Central St Martins and Loughborough University (UK).

Nicola explores the wonder of individuals and their stories – those beautiful and complex details that make up the whole of society.


Community Partner: IQkidz

IQkidz is dedicated to the provision of high quality children educational enrichment programs. We believe every child is born creative; teachers are merely facilitating the natural self-discovery process to unleash the creativity and confidence to excel.

Since its establishment from 2004, IQkidz has grown to be the preferred choice of Drama, Art and Science enrichment educational partner with kindergartens and childcare centres across our little red dot, Singapore. We are proud to be one of the official Art educators at the Learning Gallery, Singapore Art Museum.

Materials Sponsor: Staedtler (Singapore) Pte Ltd

Festival Organizer: The Living! Project (28th SEA Games Torch Up! Programme – Official Community Arts Partner)

Participating Schools: Yu Neng Primary School, St. Nicholas Girl’s School, Green Ridge primary school, My First Skool arts programme (Island-wide), WeeCare, Little Artists Studio.

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 2.52.38 pm

General Press enquiries:

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Nicola Anthony, Ouroboros, sculpture, ping pong, table tennis balls


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