Talk about product placement for a global audience.
On Nov. 30, a group photo of the wives of the G20 leaders included Ho Ching with a bronze-and-cream version of the dino pouch.
The photo was taken at the G20 summit in Argentina, where Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was among the leaders participating.
Singapore was invited to the Summit as the 2018 chairman of ASEAN, making it the eighth time Singapore is attending the G20 Leaders’ Summit.
Here's the photo, as seen on The Guardian (note that Ho has been mistakenly identified as her husband Lee Hsien Loong):
The pouch was designed by Pathlight student Seetoh Sheng Jie, a lover of prehistoric animals, who did the illustrations on the pouch purely from memory, without using any referencing material.
Seetoh is part of Pathlight’s Artist Development Programme, which was launched in April 2011, with the aim to uncover artistic talents in students and develop their potential. They get to work with professional artists to hone their craft and showcase their work to the public.
First spotted at a visit to the White House
This is not the first time that Ho has brought along the pouch to a high-profile geopolitical event however.
The original blue version of the pouch was first featured by Ho two years ago, when she brought it for the official state visit to the White House.
Singapore was honoured in a state dinner by the White House in 2016, one of the 13 state dinners hosted by President Barack Obama in his 8-year presidency.
It also made international headlines for its price tag of S$14.80.
A quick search of the pouch on The Art Faculty's website -- the appointed merchandise & art representative of Pathlight School’s Artist Development Programme -- reveals that the price for this pouch has since remained unchanged.
President Halimah also a supporter
Subsequently, upmarket versions of the pouch began making their appearance.
On Oct. 3, President Halimah Yacob was spotted sporting a silver version of the pouch at the 70th anniversary of the Internal Security Department.
This version of the pouch, which is the Silver & Charcoal version, costs S$48, more than three times the price of the original blue pouch.
S$48 is also the price of the current pouch held by Ho at the G20 summit which is the Bronze & Cream version.
Upmarket versions indicate growing recognition
This is a good thing however, given that Pathlight students also receive royalty payment from The Art Faculty whenever an item they create is sold.
As The Art Faculty states in their own words:
"For every sale of artwork and product, our differently-abled artists earn royalties to learn the value of work and financial independence."
Upmarket versions of the artists' products therefore means that there is growing recognition of the work they do, which in turns contributes to a stronger chance of having a dignified source of income.
The full range of The Art Faculty's products can be seen online here.
Top image collage photograph by G20 Organisation/EPA and screenshot from The Art Faculty