In a cozy courtyard of Odessa there is a big wooden heart. It is the “Point of Happiness”, which consists of approx. 300 multi-coloured mini houses. The unusual artwork appeared on the wall of a building in Gogol Street n. 6, known as the Valtukh’s House.
This installation appeared in the courtyard about a year ago. The grey landscape of a concrete wall is diluted with a two-meter multi-coloured motley heart. Entering the courtyard, there is a balcony with flower pots and a sign that invites you to go further and find the “point of happiness”.
A wrought-iron fence that surrounds an old well in the middle of the yard is decorated with wooden plaques in the form of asymmetrical houses. Each of them has its own fantasy address. For example, in the house in Odessa Mans Street, clothes are dried on the street, in the house on Continuous Pleasure Street, cats of different stripes rule the ball, while a dog named Bobik lives on Odessa Street, and in another children feed pigeons with crumbs. Almost each house has its own signature with dreams and wishes.
Everyone can leave an inscription on one of the “happy” houses that make up the composition in the form of a heart. On one of them somebody wrote: “House of happy Lyudochka”; on another: “Excellent company”.
The author of the idea, Anna Mamontova, started doing this hand-made craft ten years ago. She deals with environment issues by profession, but she has always dreamed of becoming an artist. The dream came true at a conscious age, when a woman had a child.
At first these houses served as limiters for books, and then they became independent objects. I wanted to show that all houses and courtyards are different and that there is love and harmony in everyone.Anna Mamontova
The artmaker realised also a souvenir shop, where she made the houses in creative tandem with her husband; he cut out bizarre shapes from pine and Anna took over the artistic part. And when sales began to grow, the couple acquired a cutting machine, and invited artisans to paint.
Today, said Anna, it is difficult to remember a corner on the world map where such a souvenir from Odessa would not go. This is because it is not just a souvenir, but a kind of symbol that often grants wishes.
There were a lot of cases when customers asked us to portray a stork with a baby on it, and after a while these people had a baby. Or, for example, they asked to make the inscription “Our future home”, and in the future these dreams came true for them. And once a girl asked to depict love in Paris, we drew the Eiffel Tower and silhouettes of lovers on a bench. So a year later, she sent us a photo just like on the house. It all depends on what emotions and feelings you put into the house. It works like a map of desires.Anna Mamontova
Even now, that the shop is closed, the “point of happiness” and its signs in the courtyard remain. Anna will keep an eye on her creations and, if necessary, restore them.
Gogol Street is considered one of the most atmospheric in Odessa. Falz-Fein’s “House with Atlanteans”, Zabludovsky’s “gingerbread house” and picturesque courtyards of this street can be seen in more than fifty films.