Japanese artist opens festive display with a feline based on fact

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 November, 2009, 12:00am

You've heard feliz navidad (Spanish for 'merry Christmas'). At the Langham Place this Christmas, it will be 'feline navidad'. Popular Japanese artist Akiko Ikeda (pictured), whose cat creation Dayan is the centrepiece of the Mong Kok shopping centre's sculpture installation, unveiled her display characters and hosted an autograph session on Tuesday.

'I think cats look at things from a very different angle,' suggested Ikeda, wearing her cat-ear hairband. 'Cats symbolise positivity, optimism, curiosity and kind-heartedness. They have beautiful outer features and the way they walk is very graceful. Cats are very loyal, too. It is wonderful to have them as your companion.'

Speaking at the event, Ikeda-san also said Dayan was based on a real-life animal. 'My aunt took home a stray cat one day and I adopted her and gave her the name Dayan,' the illustrator recalled. 'Dayan stayed with us for almost 10 years before she passed away. I remember when we had her, I had just given birth to my daughter. Every time my daughter cried upstairs, Dayan would come downstairs and signal to me, telling me the baby was crying. Dayan was like my guardian angel.'

She now has two other purr-fect pets, both of which were also adopted from off the street. As a way of giving back, Ikeda also donated a signed Dayan drawing to the Hong Kong Cat Fanciers' Club for them to use to raise money. The artwork is being auctioned on Facebook (www.facebook.com/langhamplacemall).