Dawn Ng's Walter
You could say that illustrator, artist and all-round creative cat Dawn Ng misses home a whole lot.

By Zaki Jufri | Apr 22, 2010

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  • Dawn Ng's Walter
    Catch Walter from Apr 29-May 9 at Loof

Since her return from The Big Apple, the illustrious Ng has been out and about toying around with the idea of home and Singapore through her tongue-in-cheek yet cutting edge creations, like her debut show Singapore Cuts: A Very Curious Collection of Lost Tapes at Know It Nothing, and Blackout where she bombarded the warehouse with thousands of planes in her installation I fly like paper I get high like planes. Her latest works see her lugging her new friend Walter, a ginormous inflatable rabbit around town—popping up in the most unexpected of places. I-S caught up with Ng to find out why there’s no place like home.

A giant bunny rabbit called Walter is your latest work. Care to elaborate on that?
Ginormous, yes. The project is guerilla installations of a ginormous bunny Walter who pops up amid Singapore’s standard landscape of flats and heartland enclaves that I photographed this year. I dragged his bulbous ass across 30 locations from Ghim Moh to Lim Chu Kang. It took some hilarious orchestration to pull off.

So what’s Walter supposed to do? Other than chilling around town, making cameos here and there ...
Well, Walter’s incongruent presence makes people examine these overlooked and over-familiar places by creating scenarios filled with surprise and wonder. The project is a wake up call to recognize what is truly unique about our landscape—not the super structures that make us “world-class,” but the tapestry of flats, zi char eateries, mama shops and MRT line arteries that, in its own right, is unapologetically beautiful. Inserting a surreal object like Walter within the “invisible normal” enables others to discover the extraordinary in their everyday.

How did you come up with such a great idea like this one?
I guess I got sick of people complaining that beneath our city’s bling, the real Singapore is prosaic and boring. Walter helps us look at our home as children again.

How much do you think hype affects the public perception of what good art is?
Hype is like a volume level which the media can turn up. If the art isn’t good, it’s just loud bad noise. I think people are inclined to switch off if it’s the latter.

Your work seems to have a streak of dark humor in it; is this reflective of your personality?
Which personality? I’ve got a few.

What designers, artists and illustrators inspire you and why?
I suck at making name lists but they all tend to push the boundary of what art is, thereby shaping it. No balls, no brilliance. Most of the works I like tend to be honest. I think the truth is always interesting.

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