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Myrtillius Kauria

Myrtillius Kauria is a self-taught artist from Helsinki who works with rya tapestries, clay and animation.

At OAF Academy Kauria will exhibit her newest collection called Moderni orjuus (Modern Slavery) at Pertti’s Choice Gallery in 8.-30.9.2023. The exhibition is commissioned by Helsinki Design Week. The exhibition is a small glimpse into the reality of a young Finnish person working different short-term jobs under precarious conditions. The collection collides clay figures – who portray tired, twisted characters who are too tired to stand up from working – with rya rugs that convey the world around them. 

Kauria makes rya rugs into sackcloth by binding by hand. She doesn’t depict traditional subjects, but instead social issues, especially poor and marginalized people and their everyday life. Despite their grim subject matter, the works are hilarious and the characters are slightly absurd. Kauria is interested in exploring the aesthetics of caricature in textile art.

Helsinki Design Week’s Programme Director Anni Korkman works as a mentor for Kauria. Kauria’s second mentor is game graphics and animation expert Konsta Polkutie, who guides Kauria in the world of animation.

Kauria’s works highlight the inequal situations of people who belong to different segments of society: some enjoy the realisation of opportunities on the inside, while others look at them from the outer rings. “In the outer ring we stand, the slaves who write applications for daily allowance, collect bottles for money, work as rent collectors, cleaners, waiters, seasonal sex workers and dog-walkers for the boss’s family. We meet insiders as our bosses and moral guardians at work, in government agencies and in the health service. The gap between those involved and those not involved widens, empathy diminishes and the risk of conflict increases… Working at the OAF Academy allows me to do things that I am interested in, instead of suffering as a modern slave! In addition to pure artistic experimentation, I would also like to offer encouragement through my animations, especially to modern slaves struggling with poor working conditions, as well as relevant information about the lives of slaves to those who perpetuate these poor working conditions.” Kauria says.

Read more: Helsinki Design Week’s page for the exhibition, Pertti’s Choice, Kauria’s Instagram