Angel­i­ca Mesi­ti: Choose Hap­pi­ness’ Mur­ray Art Muse­um Albury


Hap­pi­ness is by its very nature ephemer­al. Some­times it is a state that we might only iden­ti­fy in hind­sight. Increas­ing­ly there is an expec­ta­tion that we should be hap­py all the time (fuelled by the self help move­ment and pro­lif­er­a­tion of well­ness apps), putting fur­ther pres­sure and expec­ta­tion on these tem­po­ral moments. Choose Hap­pi­ness is a group exhi­bi­tion of work by emerg­ing, mid-career and estab­lished artists from Aus­tralia and Aotearoa New Zealand that acknowl­edges hap­pi­ness as a tran­sient state, one only tru­ly under­stood through expe­ri­enc­ing its oppo­site.

For some, joy comes through the very act of mak­ing — in the bright brush­strokes of Angela Brennan’s ebul­lient can­vas­es or in the urgent, painter­ly scrib­bles of Salome Tanu­vasa, enact­ed amidst the flur­ry of every­day fam­i­ly life. For oth­ers, hap­pi­ness is tied to place — in the radi­ant, unmedi­at­ed plea­sure of paint­ing on Coun­try evi­denced in the land­scapes of Gwen­neth Blit­ner or in the mosh pit of a rock con­cert filmed in slow motion by Angel­i­ca Mesi­ti (a sight made all the more poignant in the age of social dis­tanc­ing). Choose Hap­pi­ness shifts between these exal­ta­tions of joy and more dark­ly humor­ous per­spec­tives — Yvonne Todd pho­tographs prim young mod­els with forced smiles, Grant Stevens cre­ates a self help video on steroids, com­plete with new age sound­track and Matthew Har­ris injects his lurid, pop coloured paint­ings with unhinged scenes of deprav­i­ty.

Choose Hap­pi­ness encour­ages us to be kind to our­selves too, by includ­ing works that con­vey strength in vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty. Natasha Mati­la-Smith reveals inte­ri­or states; par­tic­u­lar­ly the desire to love and be loved; Jemi Gale visu­alis­es wish­ful futures impact­ed by haunt­ed pasts; Deme Te Atawhai Scott acknowl­edges the pas­sage of time and the com­plex love of fam­i­ly and Noriko Naka­mu­ra presents uncon­ven­tion­al por­traits of moth­er­hood focus­ing on motherhood’s per­ils and plea­sures.

Hap­pi­ness is com­pli­cat­ed. From aspi­ra­tions and long­ing to joy and eupho­ria, Choose Hap­pi­ness explores the real­i­ties of hap­pi­ness and its many spec­trums.

Exhibit­ing artists: Gwen­neth Blit­ner, Angela Bren­nan, Jemi Gale, Matthew Har­ris, Natasha Mati­la-Smith, Angel­i­ca Mesi­ti, Deme Te Atawhai Scott, Noriko Naka­mu­ra, Grant Stevens, Salome Tanu­vasa and Yvonne Todd.


16 July – 7 Novem­ber, 2021
Paul Ram­say Gal­leries and ANZ/​Zauner Grand Foyer


MAMA, Mur­ray Art Muse­um, Albury
546 Dean St, Albury NSW 2640



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