11 colourful Merlions to tell S'pore story around the island

Lion's Pride co-founders Marieke de Zeeuw (front, left) and Diana Francis unveiling the Fullerton Merlion with The Fullerton Heritage general manager Giovanni Viterale and President's Challenge and Community Chest director Priscilla Gan.
Lion's Pride co-founders Marieke de Zeeuw (front, left) and Diana Francis unveiling the Fullerton Merlion with The Fullerton Heritage general manager Giovanni Viterale and President's Challenge and Community Chest director Priscilla Gan.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

The much-photographed Merlion will finally have company with 11 colourful versions of the mythical creature sitting around the Fullerton precinct.

Each standing 1.6m tall, the Merlion's smaller cousins will be hand-painted with designs telling different aspects of Singapore's story - from Peranakan culture and food, to wildlife in Singapore.

The fibreglass Merlions will be transferred to the area on Aug 1 and after a few weeks, they will be put on display at various public spaces in Singapore, like Raffles Place and Far East Plaza.

They will continue to be moved around until November before being auctioned off, with the proceeds, after costs, going to the President's Challenge, which has 67 beneficiaries this year.

Art therapy group Lion's Pride is behind the initiative. Co-founder Diana Francis, a British national, said the 11 Merlions were sourced from overseas.

The Fullerton Hotels, ground-handling company Sats and developer Far East Organization are sponsoring one statue each.

The Fullerton Hotels' Merlion is painted with a map of iconic landmarks in the precinct.

"Art is a universal language. I felt that the best way to engage the public is to tell the Singapore story from different aspects of the country's culture, from the food to the wildlife we have here," said Ms Francis, 50, at the launch of the Lion's Pride Art From The Heart campaign yesterday at The Fullerton Hotel.

Ms Francis said her love for Singapore inspired the designs. She has lived here for more than 25 years."I hope we can raise over $100,000 through the auctioning. The more we can raise, the better," she added.

The President's Challenge is an annual community outreach and fund-raising campaign. Last year, it raised a total of $13.7 million.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2019, with the headline '11 colourful Merlions to tell S'pore story around the island'. Print Edition | Subscribe