Myrtillius Kauria

Myrtillius Kauria’s summer at the OAF Academy

Self-taught visual artist Myrtillius Kauria, who started as the second artist of the OAF Academy, has been working on new works at Pertti’s Choice this summer. Helsinki Design Week (HDW) has commissioned Kauria to create a body of work entitled Modern Slavery, which will be on display at Pertti’s Choice Gallery from 8-30 September 2023. Kauria’s work will also be on display during the festival from 17 August to 27 August at HAM, Pertti’s Choice Gallery and on the OAF website in the virtual gallery.

Kauria is working on two almost finished new rye rugs. One is called “Kah, lick my ass! said the first employee when asked about missing wages” and the other “Portrait of the Head Chicken Egg”.

“In this lick my ass piece, the subject of the picture is my experience of the reaction of managers at work, when asked about missing wages. Here’s this worker figure with a long tongue, and then he’s licking the ass of the boss, this yellow guy. There’s a third guy on the edge of the piece, a bit like a witness figure,” Kauria describes.

“The Head Chicken Egg has little rubbery hands and then wiggly googly eyes. He’s kind of a funny guy even though he’s such a hostile predator boss.”

Kauria will have two mentors during the OAF Academy period: the Helsinki Design Week Programme Director Anni Korkman and game designer and animator Konsta Polkutie.

“The purpose of working with Anni is to take my artistic work in a more ethical direction. There are a lot of exploitative elements in the art world, just like in working life. I want to learn how to work and maintain respect for your own work at the same time so that you don’t always get trampled on.”

“With Konsta, we have started lessons, starting with the basics of stop-motion animation with clay figures. I’ve done a bit of that before, but without any kind of qualified software. Konsta is first and foremost a technical mentor for me, helping me to realize my artistic ideas.”

Working at the OAF Academy has given Kauria opportunities to invest in the tools and materials of art making.

“The grant helped me buy a new laptop and a real animation program, which has allowed me to properly start working on animation. My previous computer couldn’t run the programs I wanted to use. I also bought a lot of proper rya rug yarns, whereas before I used a bit of everything, such as yarns that I had received as donations or found at flea markets.”

Kauria is organizing a workshop at HAM on Saturday 26.8. from 12-15 pm, open to all, entitled Modern Slavery. During the workshop, participants will have the opportunity to create an image of their own slavery – whatever that means to anyone.

“We’ll start with a mini rya rag and in just a few hours you can have it knotted! I would recommend this workshop to anyone who has ever wanted to try knotting. The workshop is above all for people who feel they are living in modern slavery and want to slow down the madness by stopping to knot rya rags.”

Read more: OAF Workshops, Modern Slavery exhibition (HDW), OAF Academy, Myrtillius Kauria, OAF Visual Arts