In response to criticism from mental health groups, Australia’s Splendour in the Grass festival renames a 30-foot-high inflatable sculpture called ‘Sad Kanye’ as ‘Happy Kanye’. The sculpture was created by Barcelona-based art group Hungry Castle (who were responsible for the previous year’s giant pink turd). In the initial press release Splendour said:
Why the sad face Kanye?. Why you got that resting bitch face, dog? Sometimes you crazy but you’re a dope ass producer and writer.
After criticism from fans who noted that West has suffered from depression, Splendour releases a follow-up statement:
Dear Kanye, This is not a diss track. Yesterday we announced plans to build a tribute sculpture of you. It’s based on an internet meme titled Sad Kanye and as artists, we believed it would be an interesting platform to spread a message of positivity and good vibes. The concept is simple, we plan to invite the entire world to climb inside your mind and make you happy. Our work is based on the internet, celebrity figures and meme cultures. It was never our intention to start a dialogue about mental health issues. But as you know more than anybody, great art can often be divisive and is ultimately open to the interpretation of the public. We want to thank the internet for opening our eyes to this viewpoint and we now see how this project could be viewed as insensitive. We believe mental health is a serious issue and if our art is bringing awareness to this (even if accidentally) than perhaps just perhaps that’s a good thing. We’re fans of your rich body of work and we’re incredibly excited to share this playful installation with Splendour in the Grass and Bestival this year. Which is why we’ve decided to retitle the work HAPPY KANYE, which is what this is really all about. Good vibes ??