A giant rubber duck floated into Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor on Wednesday, where the six-story tall bath toy was greeted by a welcoming crowd of about 1,000 art admirers.
Rubber Duck is Hong Kong’s first maritime art exhibit — and China’s very first visit from the conceptual art project, which has been touring the great harbors of the world. The 2007 piece, hailed as a modern masterpiece, was created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, who appeared in Hong Kong to help spread his friendly message.
As with any true work of art, Rubber Duck has more than one meaning.
Hofman told Asia Pacific Daily: “It’s an icon of our youth and it recalls our childhood, the time we like playing and don’t need to be stressed by earning money.”
He has told other news media, as in the Reuters video below, that he designed the piece to demonstrate that we are all connected. We are all one people, and our oceans are all one big bathtub.
In some interviews, he has also revealed that he wants the piece to make people stop and take a break from their normal routine. An 85-foot tall rubber bath toy has a way of snapping people out of a state where they’re just going through the motions of the day. And, in fact, most people’s first reaction on seeing Rubber Duck is to stop and smile.
Rubber Duck has previously visited harbors as distant as Sydney, Australia; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Amsterdam, The Netherlands. When it sails out of Hong Kong on June 9, Hofman said it will next appear in the United States and the Middle East — two very different destinations. Is there a continent that Rubber Duck will skip, other than the frozen wastes of Antarctica itself?
Keep an eye out. Who knows for sure where the charming giant rubber duck will turn up next?
[giant rubber duck in Osaka harbor photo courtesy Het Gallery via Creative Commons]