China inspires

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
Helena Sahm is excited but nervous for her month long trip.
Camera IconHelena Sahm is excited but nervous for her month long trip. Credit: Callum Hunter

Bunbury artist Helena Sahm will fly to China at the end of the month for a month long research tour, based out of Bunbury’s friendship city Jiaxing.

Ms Sahm will explore the Zhejiang Province during the trip which will be used as the catalyst for two planned exhibitions in 2021.

“I started to read a bunch of books on architecture and urban planning,” she said.

“My work has revolved around buildings for the past five years and China has always been of interest to me because of its rapid growth and wild buildings.

“Our friendship city relationship seemed to me to be the perfect way to explore this.”

Inspired by author Alain de Botton, Ms Sahm will study the region’s architecture and urban growth before returning to Australia and converting her findings into artwork which will be displayed at Bunbury Regional Art Gallery and ArtGeo Gallery in Busselton.

The title of the project will be the Architecture of Happiness in honour of de Botton’s book of the same name.

“I’ve always been interested in building and architecture,” Ms Sahm said.

“I’m an artist and art teacher but I’ve also taught architecture so I know that over a slow period of time, in most civilisations, we’ll see changes in our urban development, but nothing like China”

Ms Sahm said architecture influenced the way people felt about their environment, themselves and their broader identity which was what she hoped to convey in her art.

“I make sculptures, I take photographs, I draw, I paint and do some print making,” she said.

“Some works I like to include or increase the human connection while others are just symbolic ... the artistic process and creative process just happens the way it does.”

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