A giant duck reminiscent of a childhood toy is paddling its way round the world, bringing a message of harmony without borders.
It "knows no frontiers, doesn't discriminate against people and doesn't have a political connotation", said its creator, Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman.
And on May 2, the 16.5-metre-high art installation - built to resemble the beloved yellow bath toy of many people's childhoods - is due to make landfall in Hong Kong, where it is expected to bob in the waters of Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui for public viewing until June 9.
Rubber Duck, a rotund, pucker-beaked floating pontoon, has visited 12 cities in 10 countries, including Sydney, Osaka, Auckland and Amsterdam.
This would be its first trip to China, said shopping mall Harbour City, which was seeking to bring the artwork to Hong Kong in collaboration with creative studio AllRightsReserved, pending official approval. Hofman said on his website: "The friendly, floating Rubber Duck has healing properties: it can relieve tensions as well as define them. [It] is soft, friendly and suitable for all ages."
Already, the coos have started. "So cute!" several web users wrote on Harbour City's Facebook page. By yesterday afternoon, the post had attracted more than 5,200 indications of "like" and had been shared nearly 2,000 times. The organisers will set up an exhibition of photographs showing the places that Rubber Duck has visited.
The artist, who received his training in the Netherlands and Germany, often produces sculptures from everyday objects and makes them into clear, iconic images. Among his works are a giant rabbit, bear, frog and dog.
The Marine Department said it had met the organisers to get an idea of the event and asked them to submit a plan and application. It said it would take into account whether contingency measures in the case of a typhoon were complete and feasible.