Marc Ngui + Magda Wojtyra, aka Happy Sleepy

The Reef, 300 cm x 420 cm x 60 cm, manufacturing industry excess vinyl, nylon, foiled wallpaper, rip-stop, home decor and waterproof fabrics, thread, staples, cardstock and acrylic gouache, 2011.

Marc Ngui (born Guyana, 1972) and Magda Wojtyra  (born 1973, Poland) are a Canadian artist couple who both studied architecture at the University of Waterloo, Canada. Marc is a cartoonist and painter who also makes animations and videos. Magda does photography, digital and textile art, and she really likes to build things. We make art individually, as well as together in a collaboration called Happy Sleepy. When we combine our ideas and various digital and craft skills we can really create anything we imagine. Our pictures, installations, and movies have been shown in galleries and at very fun parties, published as graphic novels and in art magazines, and we also do design projects like websites for scientists and art workshops for children. We are dedicated to do-it-yourself and lifelong learning, and in 2006 we took up a nomadic lifestyle called Internet on the Beach. We worked from laptops while travelling around the world to see if the future had yet arrived. Inspired by devotional Buddhist thanka art in Kathmandu, we now similarly dedicate our art practice to building a world we want to live in. After 6 years of travel and research, we now live and work in Toronto.

Message to Japan:

As we made this artwork we let our hearts break with grief and swell with promise, observing that sadness is a big step beyond anger towards a peaceful place. It takes real courage to be cheerful sometimes, to imagine a future and do all the work to build it, again and again, every day. When we make art it feels therapeutic, because, similar to meditation, it requires lots of attention, lots of skillful practice, and, ultimately, letting go and getting lost in making results in the best effect. Making an idea into an object or experience in the real world requires bravery and creates confidence, so we made the Yuuki Flower so that other people can also have the experience of making, the satisfaction of building, and the fun of playing. The centre of the flower and the sprouting bud show the Happy Sleepy character we invented to help us remember our freedom to choose at least an attitude to a life situation, ranging from happily proactive to sleepily accepting. Even that choice can be scary, and sometimes large, explosive amounts of bravery are needed just to get through the day!

Special Message from Co-directors

DAICHI Projects extends our deepest condolences and sympathy towards the people of Japan who lost loved ones in recent earthquakes, tsunami, and nuclear radiation. Our passion, thoughts, and prayers are with you and we wish the earliest recovery in Japan!

Produced by Daisuke Takeya

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