Helena Sahm | Building Happiness

Location City Gallery
From Saturday 16 January 2021 -  10:00am
To Sunday 18 April 2021 - 04:00pm

The built environment both public and domestic has been a longtime focus for Helena Sahm’s artwork.  Originally from Sydney, she developed a more intimate relationship with Bunbury by creating images of its buildings when she made the city her permanent home. This current body of work is an evolution from the local to the international and comes from research after she read Allain De Botton’s ‘The Architecture of Happiness’.

‘Taking architecture seriously requires that we open ourselves to the idea that we are affected by our surroundings’ Allain De Botton. Architecture has the power to evoke within us a full range of emotions, but we require happiness to thrive.  So how do our buildings create happiness?

We look to our buildings to contain us like a psychological structure in which to hold a vision of ourselves. Architecture heavily influences who we can be and acts as a reminder of our full potential.  Our buildings also reflect the conditions of their creation in political and economic contexts. Travelling to China was a way to discover how these conditions affected the people.

China’s history is illustrated in its buildings. Centuries of changing rule altered the styles of its buildings. Influences from Dynastic rulers, Buddhist and Taoist beliefs, Europe and Russia, and contemporary international design trends, all within varying periodic political controls, have created a contrasting built environment.  At no time in its history has China seen so much alteration to its landscape through development than the past 30 years.

Our Sister State Zhejiang Province and our Sister City Jiaxing provided me with a doorway into China. The work you see is the culmination of 12 months of planning, 30 days of exploring the Southern Yangtse Delta from Shanghai to Hangzhou and places in between including Jiāxīng and another 12 months of production.



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