Over 10,000 ping pong balls, 5000 people, and 5000 aspirations come together to create the sculpture Ouroboros for the 28th Southeast Asian Games, May 2015.
International artist Nicola Anthony has been invited to create a light sculpture, with a community of 5000 students from local schools, made of more than 10,000 table tennis balls, for the Art Programme of the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games – a biennial sports event involving 11 participating nations.
Marina Bay welcomes ‘something extraordinary’
Nicola is one of 30 invited artists for the Torch UP! programme of art. With the generous support of the 28th SEA Games, her community partner IQkidz, and materials sponsor STAEDTLER, Nicola’s aim was to focus on the very human message of this international sporting event – the potential for extraordinary things in each of us. The light sculpture will be located at Marina Bay’s Events Plaza.
“The 10,000 individual balls will form the spheres, dots and correlations of a beautiful pattern, showcasing aspirations of our artwork community: students, teachers, families, the public, and even Singapore’s national table tennis players who have each penned a wish on a ping pong.” says the artist.
Using the symbol of the balls in a seemingly infinite loop, (an ouroboros), the artwork represents the joining together of people into families, communities, and society. The white, pearl-like spheres will become luminescent by night, and the sentences will join up to form lines flowing around the circular shape. Nicola states that “conceptually, the ping pong was a blank canvas, a pure sphere that in my imagination could be a seed, an atom, a planet, a star, or even a biological cell.”
Art connecting across oceans
Nicola is also reaching out to Singaporeans abroad and has invited their wishes and messages. Meanwhile she is also connecting non-Singaporean people like herself living in the cosmopolitan country. “It’s a community collaboration via art on an international level – it’s important to me because these long distance connections and ‘heart-threads’ are a big part of my own life.”
Having exhibited internationally, and created artworks which involve writing on tens of thousands of Saga seeds (Singapore), sacks of rice grains (UK), and printing words on 50,000 Sugar cubes (sponsored by Tate Britain), the artist welcomed this new challenge of collecting written messages on thousands of ping pong balls, resulting in the raw material for an epic sculpture.
SEA Games has said “[Our] theme, ‘Celebrate the Extraordinary’, is about connecting individuals, communities and countries to their dreams. It’s beyond competing, winning or even overcoming defeat. It’s not about having a champion to look up to, but inspiring the one that is inside each of us.”
Ouroboros will be unveiled in late May at the Events Plaza, Marina Bay, for display during 28th SEA Games.
About Nicola Anthony
Nicola Anthony is an international artist based in Singapore. Nicola’s artwork begins with an extraordinary idea, a large number of small fragments, and the collection of words.
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 was born in London, studied at Central St Martins (University of the Arts London) and Loughborough University.
Singapore and UK: In recent showcases, Nicola has exhibited at London’s Royal College of Art, Ikkan Art International, Singapore’s Victoria Theatre, the National Library Building in the cultural district of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, The Substation Gallery and The Arts House – Singapore’s Old Parliament Building, where she was recently invited to give a speech about her journey as an artist alongside special guest Ms.Vijay Thakur Singh the High Commissioner of India, as well as being invited to create a 6 metre welcome sculpture involving 1 kilometre of string for the commissioned entrance sculpture of the Singapore Affordable Art Fair at the F1 Pit building as her first public commission in 2013.
Nicola has collected and hand numbered 9000 saga seeds and their stories, sculpted together 10,000 inscribed ping pong balls, gathered the written aspirations of 5000 children, and woven a 6 metre dreamcatcher-web using a kilometer of string across the entrance of an international art fair. She has dissected 31 dollar bills, deconstructed and re-written epic novels, built a life sized post box using 4723 words cut from letters, constructed a room using 50,000 sugar cubes, and re-imagined the calendar into a 3D, shimmering, glass rubik’s cube of 365 pieces.
Nicola explores the wonder of individuals and their stories – those beautiful and complex details that make up the whole of society.
Sponsors and Partners
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.
Artwork Sponsors: SG50 (Singapore’s 50th Anniversary fund), and SportSG for 28th SEA Games, STAEDTLER (Singapore).
Festival Organizer: The Living! Project (28th SEA Games Official Community Arts Partner)
UK Art Partner: DegreeArt Gallery / Collectors Contemporary
Participating Schools: Yu Neng Primary School, St. Nicholas Girl’s School, Green Ridge primary school, My First Skool arts programme (Island-wide),
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