During his working period at the Rijksakademie Ade Darmawan focused
on what he considers the dubious role of journalism and advertising.
People have become dependent on the mass media and the manipulative
images that these frequently generate. By using the same means (catching
images, slogan-like texts and reproduction) he hopes to lay bare
Are we Happy? is the title of a series of posters that Darmawan pasted
up illegally in the centre of Amsterdam in 1999. He used recognisable
images that refer to health, desire, knowledge and war. On these he
superimposed the texts: "are we happy", “are we together", "are
we secure". It is as if the posters were announcing a party, a
play or a slimming advertisement. Darmawan appeals to the “we” and “us” feeling.
Only - who are “we” and who and what should we do to help
who or what?