Welcome to the Year of the Rat!
One of my favourite clients, Singapore’s prestigious Gardens by the Bay, are getting ready to unveil this year’s Chinese New Year’s Dahlia Dreams presentation featuring 12 oversized driftwood rats which I made specially for them.
This was a challenging commission; 2020’s Star Animal has a pretty poor reputation in Singapore. Dispel images of modern day ultra clean, cosmopolitan Singapore and cast your mind back to the city of the 1950’s with sometimes cramped, hot and humid living spaces and imagine if you will a couple of our furry friends scurrying back and forth under the kitchen sink and you will understand why! It was important to present my rats in a humorous light so that visitors to Gardens by the Bay Flower Dome might feel empathy towards them.
There are 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac, and the rat is the first. Why? Well he’s a cunning fellow and in the Great Race that dictated the order of the animals, the rat cadged a lift on the Ox’s neck as the great beast swam across the river (dislodging in the process the cat who had the same idea – hence the age old enmity between the cat and the rat), leaping off the Ox’s neck right in front of the finish line to bag First Place!
Aside from being, when required, resourceful, people born in the Year of the Rat (1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008 and 2020) are believed to be very industrious and thrifty, diligent and positive. They are great collectors and have a keen sense of danger and great intuition.
Back to my rats! I decided to have my 12 rats represent their different character traits. Of course, the driftwood sculptures are but a component in Gardens By the Bay's impeccable floral exhibits - if you are passing through Singapore you can do no better than spend a day at the Gardens. If you are there from 17 January through 23 February 2020, please do visit the Flower Dome and say hello to my old friends! Here they are in all their glory...