UK artist Nicola Anthony, uses 10,000 ping pong balls
to create sculpture for the
28th biennial Southeast Asian Games
Over 10,000 ping pong balls, 5000 people, and 5000 aspirations come together to create the sculpture Ouroboros for the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore, May – June 2015.
All Images are copyright © Nicola Anthony
With art studios in the two cultural hubs of London and Singapore, British artist Nicola Anthony has become known internationally over the last 4 years, and this year she has been awarded the honour of being invited to create a light sculpture for the Art Programme of the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games – a biennial sports event involving 11 participating nations.
With the generous support of the 28th SEA Games, her community partner IQkidz, and materials sponsors STAEDTLER and Philips, 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 in Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay.
“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 beloved 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
During this particularly poignant time for Singapore, after the passing of their own champion, former Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew, 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.”
The public sculpture Ouroboros is due to be unveiled in late May, for display during the 28th SouthEast Asian 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.
Nicola’s subsequent project culminates in an exhibition in London’s Brick Lane Gallery this summer. 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.
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.
Nicola has collected and hand numbered 9000 saga seeds and their stories, woven a 6 metre dreamcatcher-web using a kilometer of string across the entrance of an international art fair, and dissected 31 dollar bills. She has 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.
nicolaanthony.co.uk | seagames2015.com