Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang recently debuted a new public exhibit in Shanghai. Unlike his past work, which often features fireworks and gunpowder, this installation was quieter and much more mysterious.
Cai Guo-Qiang wondered: If Noah's Ark had traveled through China's polluted waterways, would the animals have survived?
China has very weak environmental regulations. As a result, their air and water are some of the most polluted in the world.
Not so long ago, Shanghai residents were horrified to find thousands of dead pigs floating in the City's main river (and source of drinking water).
“That incident has some influence on my original idea for this piece of work,” Mr. Cai told The Wall Street Journal
Titled "The Ninth Wave" the installation features a boat full of sick and weary (stuffed) animals.
The work takes its name from "Russian painter Ivan Aivazovsky’s 1850 eponymous painting, which famously depicted survivors from a shipwreck clinging to a mast as in the last throes of survival, expressing human’s helplessness in the face of nature’s unforgiving forces."
The 99 stuffed animals were produced in the artist's hometown in Fujian Province, as was the boat.
“Ninety-nine is a number I personally fancy,” the artist explained. “In China, it symbolizes infiniteness. I use that number a lot. Not a hundred. A hundred is just a hundred.”
Noah's Ark was built to help humans survive God's wrath, but this ark is different.
This time it's the animals who are trying to escape us, and what we've done to the planet.