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The Happiness Quest

  • Series
Mixed media digital artwork combining found imagery from vintage magazines and books with painted and textured elements. The overall hues are pastel blues, pinks and greys with elements of harsh reds and greens. At the centre of the artwork is a young boy from the chest up, holding an open book in his hands in front of his face, such that his nose and mouth are obscured. On the cover of the book is a large yellow curved line running from the back cover, across the spine and to the front cover. The placement of this line makes it look like a smile on the boy's face where his mouth would be. His eyes look towards the viewer, welling slightly with tears. Above his head is a small sign written in red capital letters which spells, 'FIN'. Behind his head are 2 other scenes. To the left is a seascape with 2 large mountains on the horizon, one is a representation of the eye of Sauron from Lord of the Rings. In the ocean below is a small row boat containing two characters holding paddles. These characters resemble Frodo and Sam, also from Lord of the Rings. To the right is a scene showing a young boy and girl dressed in 1950s American era clothes. They are playing golf. The girl has a large smile on her face and has a golf club raised behind her head, about to strike a golf ball resting on a 'T' in the grass. The golf ball appears to be on fire. The boy is standing on the other side of the ball facing away from the girl. He has his hands on his hips and his head bend towards the floor. His has an upset, sulking expression on his face. Behind them both is a blue sky with white fluffy clouds.
Happy endings. © Laurindo Feliciano for Wellcome Collection.

When will we find happiness? In this six-part serial, Kate Wilkinson pursues our experiences of happiness at different times in our lives: childhood, adolescence, youth, middle and old age. She asks about the things that might bring us happiness – fantasy stories, mind-altering drugs, lifestyle minimalism, music and vegetables – and talks to people, from young to old, about their own pursuit of happiness. Happiness may be the ultimate goal of our lives, or something that we find along the way.