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OAF Academy’s second artist is Myrtillius Kauria

We’re excited to inform you that Myrtillius Kauria starts as the second artist of OAF Academy!

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), which is premiered at Pertin Valinta gallery in 8.-30.9.2023. The exhibition is commissioned by Helsinki Design Week. “Through Myrtillius Kauria’s insightful works, we at HDW can not only have discussions about fair, equal working life, but also face each other over creativity and laugh together. This is what I hope to see more of in the world of design and architecture; not only criticism of worn-out structures, but also surprises and humour. Helsinki Design Week has always presented the creative industries in a broad and open-minded way. We will continue to do so in the years to come, and hopefully with even more diversity and from a wider range of perspectives. I am proud to be working with Myrtillus and Pertti’s Choice,” says Helsinki Design Week Programme Director Anni Korkman.

Korkman works as a mentor for Kauria during the working period. Kauria’s second mentor is a game graphics and animation expert Konsta Polkutie, who guides Kauria in the world of animation.

The exhibition is a small glimpse into the reality of a young Finnish person working different short-term jobs under precarious conditions. 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.

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.

OAF Academy is a new art program that provides long-term support for the work of outsider artists and creates a new operational model that enables artists to create artworks as commissions. 

Read more about OAF Academy here.

Check out the HDW site for the exhibition.