A Dutch artist has arrived in Australia for the Sydney Festival, and he has brought a very big duck with him - with a message, Michelle Hanna reports.
By
Michelle Hanna

UPDATED 6:04 PM - 3 Sep 2013

They say ducks get up at the quack of dawn.

And that's certainly true of the giant rubber duckie seen bobbing on Sydney's Darling Harbour this morning.

But all jokes aside, this is a duck with a message.

“Well, it means we are one family in the world, we live in a big world, but it's also small by internet, travelling,” says its creator, the Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman.

“And the waters on this globe are our bathtub and we have to take care of it. We are one family and we have to take care of each other,” he said.

The 15-metre-high duck had its maiden voyage during a trial run this morning through the Pyrmont Bridge, before its official arrival as part of the Sydney Festival's opening on Saturday.

Hofman is known for making large, familiar objects and placing them in unexpected locations for maximum impact.

“I try to kidnap public space with my work, I make large works, large scale works, and I try to kidnap places for a period,” he explains.

“And then when they are gone again, you see the place in a different perspective again.”

In an art world that can sometimes take itself too seriously, this duck is here to lighten up the scene.

“Sydney is one big bathtub,” said festival director Lieven Bertels.

“And as Florentijn says, the whole world is about connecting people and that's what we do with the Sydney Festival as well.”

For now, this duckie will retreat. It returns on Saturday when it will be joined by a host of performers for the festival's Day One celebrations.

It will remain in position - a sitting duck, you might say - until January 23.