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  • Shrigley, David
Part of
Wellcome Collection On Happiness Commision.
  • Pictures

About this work


An outline of two outstretched arms, with hands holding a character personified with arms, legs, eyes and a smiling mouth.


[United Kingdom], [2020]

Physical description

1 drawing : ink on paper ; sheet 42 x 30 cm, frame 48 x 36 x 3 cm


Two questions: 1. What are you? 2. Why are you so happy?

Terms of use

Creative Commons Attribution - Non-Commercial CC BY-NC 4.0


Wellcome Collection no. 3272404i

Lettering note

TWO QUESTIONS: 1. WHAT ARE YOU? 2. WHY ARE YOU SO HAPPY? (text on work, recto)

Exhibitions note

Exhibited in "On Happiness" at Wellcome Collection, London, 15 July 2021 - 27 February 2022.
Gallery Text: Throughout the gallery David Shrigley presents a new series of drawings that respond to everyday moments of joy. While his topics are far-reaching, Shrigley’s deliberately crude black-and-white drawings are deceptive in their simplicity. Using humour to disarm the viewer, his subjects often include dark and complex themes that suggest laughter is a moment of reprieve as well as a coping strategy for difficulty. -- accompanying text from "Joy" at Wellcome Collection, London.


Title provided by the artist.

Ownership note

In 2021 Wellcome Collection commisioned David Shrigley to do a series of drawings for the "On Happiness" season of events. The commision resulted in 48 drawings, 24 of which were included in the exhibition "Joy" at Wellcome Collection. 5 of the drawings were added to the permanent Collection.
Stephen Friedman Gallery number: SHRIG 4174


  • English

Where to find it

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