Handmade CNY decorations at Fusionopolis stolen within a day of display

PHOTO: Facebook / YarnbombingSG

Public art installations or a free-for-all? Unfortunately, it seems like some can't tell the difference.

A recent outdoor art initiative was derailed when most of the crocheted art pieces on display were stolen, organisers Yarn Bombing Singapore wrote in a Facebook post on Jan 19.

The Chinese New Year-themed decorations, which included anthropomorphic ingots, mandarin oranges and mice, had been put up at the taxi stand at Fusionopolis One on Jan 17.

The adorable characters were created by volunteers as part of a partnership between Yarn Bombing Singapore, a community of yarn-enthusiasts, and JTC Corporation, which manages Fusionopolis.

While there was no signage on-site, the Yarn Bombing Singapore logo was displayed on the centre topper, a Despicable Me minion dressed in red overalls.

By the next morning, however, only five of the 16 toppers which had adorned the bollards at the taxi stand remained.

But those hoping to catch a glimpse of the installation need not fret.

The toppers will be back next week, Yarn Bombing Singapore said, adding that they will "remain positive and believe people are good."

The installation next week will consist of the remaining toppers as well as new toppers contributed by volunteers, a Yarn Bombing Singapore spokesperson told AsiaOne on Jan 20.

Fortunately, the culprits were caught on surveillance cameras and a police report has been made, they added.

A JTC Corporation spokesperson confirmed the incident and said that it is working with Yarn Bombing Singapore and the police on the incident.

This is JTC Corporation's second year partnering with Yarn Bombing Singapore on the Chinese New Year yarn display.

In fact, the yarn decorations were displayed at the same spot last year without a hitch.

Since its first meet-up in 2014, Yarn Bombing Singapore has participated in several other community-based projects over the years — from yarn bombing the Singapore Science Centre in 2014 to creating an elaborate display of 70 yarn dolls in commemoration of SG50.

However, this would be the first time that their artwork was stolen.

While the term "street art" often conjures mental images of graffiti and spray paint, yarn bombing is another guerrilla art form that has been rising in popularity ever since the first International Yarn Bombing Day was declared on June 11, 2011.

Like traditional graffiti, it often turns up on public property such as lampposts and benches. But instead of throwing up paint, yarn bombers knit or crochet their art pieces.

Other artists have also put their own spin on the trend.

In January last year, Cindy Wang, a crochet artist known as The Geeky Hooker, left four dolls around Singapore for lucky strangers to discover and "adopt".

The dolls, which were left in random locations, such as a bookstore shelf and outside a museum, were snapped up in no time thanks to the hints on Wang's Twitter.