Colourful Merlions to be displayed around Singapore before they are sold for President's Challenge

The Fullerton Hotels' Merlion is painted with a map of iconic landmarks in the precinct.
The Fullerton Hotels' Merlion is painted with a map of iconic landmarks in the precinct.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - 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 statues are dwarfed by the original, which is more than four times taller.

The colourful 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 around Singapore, like Raffles Place and Far East Plaza.

They will continue to be moved around until November before they are auctioned off with 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 group, which is involved in community-focused arts projects, have secured sponsorship for three of the statues. 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 on Tuesday (June 18) at The Fullerton Hotel.

Ms Francis said her love for Singapore inspired the various 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. In 2018, it raised a total of $13.7 million.