KAWS:HOLIDAY' 'Companion', an inflatable sculpture (C) by US artist and designer Brian Donnelly, known professionally as Kaws, is displayed on Victoria Harbour during the opening ceromony for its exhibition in Hong Kong on March 22, 2019. Made in collaboration with locally based creative studio AllRightsReserved (ARR), the 37-metre-long KAWS:HOLIDAY sculpture will be docked in Victoria Harbour.
AFP/Isaac Lawrence
Giant KAWS inflatable launches in Hong Kong harbour
(Agence France-Presse) - March 26, 2019 - 1:35pm

HONG KONG, China — A massive inflatable reminiscent of a dead mouse was towed into Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour Friday, attracting a crowd of locals and visitors. 

The 37-metre-long (121 feet) inflatable - about the length of three double-decker buses - is the work of American artist KAWS, who is known for his set of whimsical characters sporting Xs for eyes.

His macabre grey “Companion” figure, wearing trousers and gloves reminiscent of Mickey Mouse, floated on its back in the harbourfront after being towed in by tugboats and welcomed with a water display from a fireboat. 

The KAWS:HOLIDAY sculpture will remain in Victoria Harbour until the end of March.

KAWS, born Brian Donnelly, said he hopes his work will help people to relax.

"Hong Kong's such a busy city... I thought it would be a good juxtaposition to have a work like this just floating in Victoria Harbour", he told reporters.

"I just thought about like, for myself, what's a really relaxing position, and that's really when you just zone out and look at the sky and think about nothing else."

The figure received comparisons to a smaller inflatable duck by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, which was a hugely popular display in 2013, inspiring special duck dishes in restaurants and even copies in several Chinese cities.

"The yellow duck is more attractive, more lively," said Fung Foon-yung, 67.

"I don't know what this one looks like, it's just lying there," she said, adding it reminded her of a corpse.

Cheer Chen, 31, a self-described KAWS fan and Sichuan resident, said she came to Hong Kong especially to see the float after missing out on its former stops in Seoul and Taipei.

She said she liked the attitude that KAWS brought to his work.

"I personally feel that KAWS is persisting with what he wants to do, which is in line with my own philosophy at the moment."

"Besides, I think these toys are a trend right now," she said, adding that she paid RMB 3,000 (US $446.83) to have a friend buy her a KAWS figurine from Taiwan. 

Leung Kin-yee, a 72 year-old resident, took a more philosophical approach. 

"Maybe there are some things in the world it doesn't want to see," he said, referring to the figure's eyes.

"Inequality, human selfishness, greed."

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