Art And Culture

Outdoor Art Project Flays Capitalism

Outdoor Art Project Flays CapitalismOutdoor Art Project Flays Capitalism

The ‘Made-in-China’ Ball is an interactive outdoor art installation by Iranian artist Negar Farajiani, displayed in Irvine city of California.

Farajiani in a speech at the University of Irvine explained her project, stating that the 4-by-4 meter giant inflatable beach ball “explores an invisible and inevitable power play.” As it fills up with air, the ball expands and rises like a giant, “ready to take over or destroy anything in its path.” The project was conceptualized in Iran, produced in China, and toured several cities throughout the globe. The ball was displayed to the public and also at a students’ camp on May 7-8, Honaronline reported.

The tricolor ball addresses ideas and debates on globalization, the homogenization of cultures, and consumption patterns, while criticizing capitalism. “The giant ball is at first entertaining for kids, but its inaccessibility challenges people,” Farajiani said. The ‘Made-in-China Ball’ rejects monopoly by a few, for the benefit of the privileged. “I want the audience to play with the ball, but also ask themselves to ponder on this metaphor for globalization, and how we fit into the big game,” she said.

The playful object popped up unexpectedly in city downtowns, deserted factories, and underprivileged neighborhoods to distract people from the harsh realities. It became a mirage, a beautiful and unexpected game filled with wonder; however the over-sized installation had a dual meaning. “The beach ball signaled a carefree time for play when the politics of production and consumption did not figure into daily routine.”

People from different countries showed various reactions to the project, she said, adding: “For example in Dubai, people put the ball on a stand and displayed it as a luxurious item. In Georgia, it was hugely welcomed by children but adults believed I should buy a car instead!”

The ball was exhibited at the Chicago Art Fair, where people were engaged in public art, while Toronto banned the project. “Balls have a playful nature which provokes different reactions,” Farajiani said. Cheerful and harmless in appearance, the ‘Made-in-China Ball’ evokes playful childhood memories while simultaneously posing bigger questions on large-scale economies.


Born in Iran in the historical city of Yazd, Negar Farajiani is an Iranian painter, media artist, and freelance curator. She has exhibited her “socially-themed artwork” internationally. After graduating from the Art Institute of Tehran in 2000, she returned to Yazd and started painting abstracts “to uncover the truths.” In 2003, she moved back to Tehran to continue painting and began to show her projects in galleries. She has had several solo exhibitions in Tehran and been part of group exhibitions in Dubai, London, Brazil, China, Japan, and the USA.

In 2009, Farajiani developed the “Puzzle” series, a concept derived “from the confusion and mishmash of meanings in our daily lives” as a result of globalization. The artist’s latest solo exhibition, ‘UNDO’, challenges the physical abuse, brutality, and bullying of women. Since 2010, Farajiani has been curating two large collaborative projects titled, ‘Destination Known’ and ‘Tehran Monoxide Project.’ Both the long-term projects involve the public as they aim to collaborate in investigating social and environmental issues.

In 2012, she held her first solo exhibition in the US, titled ‘Mix & UnMatch.’ In 2013, her projects were on display at the Emirates Financial Towers, in Dubai, where she was announced as one of the finalists for the Magic of Persia Contemporary Art Prize.

Farajiani’s 12x12 foot beach ball began its world tour in 2010, greeting audiences in various locations and will continue its journey across other places the world over.