What makes a good life? This was the question that the Heinrich Böll Foundation asked a series of artists from Cambodia, Thailand, Nigeria, Myanmar and the Czech Republic. With the question in mind, the artists generated works that look at water issues, food issues, consumer goods and general contentment. In an series dubbed SurVivArt, their program features everything from sculpture to an international happiness survey.
The Heinrich Böll Foundation is very much about promoting sustainability and gender equality, and SurVivArt speaks to those values. Artist Kebreab Demeke looks at vessels used to carry water in Ethiopia– the jerrycans used by boys verus the clay pots used by girls– and creates an installation with the beat-up, less sustainable castoffs; while Thai artist Nino Sarabutra asks the simple question “Are you Happy?” and displays the results amongst an installation of ceramic bowls.
These artists use the creative tools at their disposal to examine, engage, and enliven their respective communities in the pursuit of broad sustainable ideals. Their work also highlights the cultural challenges at hand, the attractiveness of material goods, as well as the unequal distribution of resources.