An art exhibition designed for dogs, cats and their owners

Left: Soh Ee Shaun's bath mats with cat faces are artworks for felines to interact with. Above: Artist Adeline Tan, aka Mighty Yellow, with her dog, which will be featured in her installation A Whole New World.
Soh Ee Shaun's bath mats with cat faces are artworks for felines to interact with.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
Left: Soh Ee Shaun's bath mats with cat faces are artworks for felines to interact with. Above: Artist Adeline Tan, aka Mighty Yellow, with her dog, which will be featured in her installation A Whole New World.
Above: Artist Adeline Tan, aka Mighty Yellow, with her dog, which will be featured in her installation A Whole New World.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

An exhibition has 10 installations set up by artists for dogs and cats and their owners to interact with

Artist Soh Ee Shaun is used to having his works scrutinised by many who might not have stepped into a museum or art gallery - he has worked on projects such as decorating the walls of Bishan MRT station, painting a bench outside the National Gallery Singapore and the construction hoarding of Jewel Changi Airport.

For his new project, he is prepared for his installation to be yellowed, scratched and even ripped to shreds - because the audience will be cats.

The 36-year-old is one of 10 artists who will put up installations for Paw-sitive: Interactive Art For Pets By Wellness. His Rugcats installation involves 15 bath mats with cat faces, including his signature deadpan cat faces. The mats will be mounted on walls and placed on the floor for cats to interact with.

The exhibition comprises six installations for dogs and four for cats, and is for pets and their owners to enjoy. Mr Esmond Low, managing director of Silversky, the local distributor of Wellness pet food, which organised the event, says: "The exhibition is a platform for pet parents and their pets to bond.

"We hope they come and play around the exhibits and engage with their pets. The purpose is to bring about wellness for both pet parents and their pets."

For each of the 10 works, the artists consulted veterinarians and animal behaviourists to determine what the animals would respond to.

  • VIEW IT/ PAW-SITIVE: INTERACTIVE ART FOR PETS BY WELLNESS

  • WHERE: School of the Arts, 1 Zubir Said Drive

    WHEN: Sept 30 to Oct 8, Sundays to Thursdays, 11am to 9pm, Fridays and Saturdays, 10am to 10pm

    ADMISSION: Free, register at www.wellnesspetfood.com.sg/10thanniversary

Behaviourists were also consulted on the design of the route and sequence for visitors to follow, to ensure the animals are not overwhelmed.

To prevent overcrowding, visitors have to register to view the exhibition in 90-minute time slots, with a maximum of 70 pets and owners for each time slot.

Guides will be stationed at the installations to explain their meanings to pet owners.

There are enclosed installations where dogs will be allowed to be taken off their leash.

Soh, a cat owner of 10 years, tested his installation on his three cats at home and realised he should prepare extra bath mats on "standby, as replacements".

He says: "When we did the initial tests, the cats really went for it. They were really sensitive to the smell of the new bath mats and liked to scratch the textiles to file their nails.

"They can be quite territorial. I'm quite sure at the exhibition, if you leave them long enough, they will have their own spot. They might even spray to mark it out. I guess that will add colour," he adds.

Another artist in the exhibition, Adeline Tan, who is working on an installation for dogs, likens making installations for pets to making them for young children.

She says: "You're not sure if they're enjoying the art part or the fun elements (of the installation), but the point is that they're enjoying it and having fun."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2017, with the headline 'Arty playground for pets'. Print Edition | Subscribe