Local Contribution to the Winter Olympics


Brooklyn-based artist Nicholas Mahon worked with Johorian talents for Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony puppets

The 2018 Winter Olympics was launched in a spectacular fashion on the 9th of February in PyeongChang, South Korea and a prominent feature of the breathtaking Opening Ceremony was huge animal puppets brought out as a tribute to the Korean culture.

2018 Winter Olympics is first time 2 athletes represented Malaysia at the games. At the Opening Ceremony however there were 14 large puppets representing Johor’s very own craftsmen. The “Land of Peace: was the Opening Ceremony’s first segment where puppets representing ancient Korean mythical creatures told a beautiful story live on stage.

Nicholas Mahon, a Brooklyn-based artist was the man behind the monumental puppets that greeted the excited public in the first five minutes of the two-hour Opening Ceremony show. To get the puppets done, Red Circle Projects Sdn Bhd, a company based in Iskandar Puteri was chosen and with approximately 40 crew members assigned to the project with advice and technical support from their international experts, they set off to prototype and create the puppets for the rehearsals and for the performance of the Winter Olympics.

The local Johor craftsmen created the puppets made from aluminium frames with padded foam cladding that was then covered with handmade Korean paper called hanji. In total, Red Circle Projects Sdn Bhd were contracted to build the 14 feature puppets for the show with the highlight being the White Tiger Mascot which stood at 7m long, 1.8m wide and over 3m in height – controlled by 6 puppeteers.

“Red Circle Projects has trained this local team over many years to great success. Seeing these amazing puppets in action you can see the strong aluminium frame from the welding team, to the beautifully carved wings in the man bird, to the fabric teams amazing work on the dragon, and the always impressive paint teams work on the Tiger,” said Brian Edmonds, Managing Director of Red Circle Projects Sdn Bhd.

With offices and workshop at Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios, Red Circle Projects’s trained professionals have seen their work overseas, with recent work being sent to Azerbaijan for the Opening Ceremony of the European Games and the Islamic Solidarity Games.