Happy Snake by Jose de Guimaraes is a playful looking welcome sign that is in Takamatsu as well as all of the islands in the Setouchi Triennale. Happy Snake is a companion piece to “Flower”, another artwork that is supposed to be located on all of the islands that take part in the Setouchi Triennale. I found Happy Snake to be the better artwork, even though it is just as minimalist.
Happy Snake is basically what it says. It is a figure of a white snake emerging from the ground as it appears to be eating a flower. It links in well with “Flower” although the flowers of Happy Snake look nothing alike the flowers of “Flower”. Each Happy Snake is slightly different with the basic snake looking the same and the flowers being painted different colours. The base of the snake also has unique pictures and objects in caricature form that is related to the area the snake is located.
Happy Snake, in its most basic form, is nothing more than a welcome sign. It welcomes people to Takamatsu as well as the various islands. Every sign says “Welcome to ___” in 5 different scripts. Each snake welcomes you in Japanese, English, Korean, and both simplified and traditional Chinese. It is fun to see this and how international they are trying to make the Setouchi Triennale. I feel that they really should add French as the 2016 Setouchi Triennale had 9.8% of foreign visitors from France.
Happy Snake is fun and very playful. It is easy to take photos and it is nice to see how they want to welcome people from different languages to the islands. I would love to see them redesign the Happy Snakes by adding as many languages as they could. I would love to see them reach out to people of all languages to show what types of people are visiting the islands. It is just a thought but I feel this would bring a lot more meaning to each of the Happy Snakes and would definitely make me want to visit them more often.