Michelle Poonawalla displays her tiger sculpture at Supertree Grove, Gardens by the Bay

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Michelle Poonawalla displays her tiger sculpture at Supertree Grove, Gardens by the Bay
Michelle Poonawalla with Striped Tiger. Image courtesy of the artist.

SINGAPORE.- Michelle Poonawalla is showcasing her sculpture Striped Tiger as a part of WWF-Singapore’s AR-mazing Tiger Trail at Supertree Grove, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore. The 6-week (26 February - 9 April 2022) island-wide installation of life-sized tiger art sculptures and tiger inspired art pieces, designed and decorated by international and local artists. In partnership with WWF-Singapore, an online auction will be held by Sotheby’s to auction off 33 life size tiger sculptures. Bidding will open on 12 April and close on 26 April 2022.

WWF-Singapore’s AR-mazing Tiger Trail features paintings, prints, sculptures and ceramics by internationally acclaimed artists, raising awareness of the importance of the tiger’s role in mitigating climate change and protecting biodiversity. The 6-week trail will also include programming such as curated art tours and art workshops at National Gallery Singapore, WWF-led conservation and eco-sustainability workshops and talks at partner venues.

Poonawalla is known for her practice which includes her signature motif of a butterfly, intended to be a symbol of freedom, fragility and the metamorphoses of life. This motif has been recurring throughout her career. For the exhibition, Poonawalla is presenting her fibreglass and paint sculpture, Striped Tiger, which has been inspired by the Common Butterfly - a butterfly which has tiger stripes on its wings. Just as the Common Butterfly has tiger stripes, this Tiger also has the butterfly's wings on its body. Both these creatures let each other borrow strength, support and positivity during tough times. The work creates a dramatic visual language incorporating a sense of dynamism.

“Having worked with and been associated with similar non-profit environmental organisations in the past including Elephant Parade and Make Art For Mumbai’s Mangroves, I was drawn to Tiger Trail and its mission. It is my privilege and honour to be able to make art that supports the environment and majestic animals such as the Tiger, helping to secure their survival for generations below us. I wanted to support Tiger Trail and raise awareness for this endangered animal. It is important to recognise the beauty in the nature around us and create a sense of pride in our local wildlife.” Michelle Poonawalla

Michelle Poonawalla is an artist who lives and works between London, UK, and Pune, India.

Her works explore universal, socially engaged topics that resonate with a diverse range of audiences, creating powerful memories and moving experiences. Her practice combines cutting-edge technology and traditional artistic mediums in an emotionally charged and poetic form; often utilising sound, video mapping, projection, motion sensors and other techniques to bring her innovative paintings and installations to life.

Her piece, Introspection (2018), is a striking, immersive experiential artwork which leaves many viewers moved and affected, whilst inspiring them to take action in their own lives. The work has been exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery, London; Alserkal Avenue, Dubai Art Week, and the Kochi- Muziris Biennale. Poonawalla has recently begun exploring work with shorter digital format films. Her 3min 36 second film Circle of Life addresses the idea of memory and is exhibited at the 7th Mediations Biennale in Poland. Other digital works can be seen on SedtionArt.com and at the World Art Dubai, 2020.

Poonawalla is also actively involved in work supporting important causes in the environment and gender spaces. Recent projects have included Masks d’Art - a charitable initiative by Art for Concern to raise money for Covid-19 relief funds; Make Art for Mumbai's Mangroves - a campaign that invited artists to help amplify the message of preserving Mumbai’s precious wetlands; Breakthrough - a charity working to stop discrimination and violence towards women and girls; and her work Monsoon Magic was presented to HiIs Royal Highness Prince Charles when her Elephant Sculpture shown as part of Elephant Parade in Jaipur and Mumbai in 2017.

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