Juliana Hyrri

visual artist

Kuva: Jussi Virkkumaa

During her time at the Saari Residence, Helsinki-based visual artist Juliana Hyrri will be working on her graphic novel Venäläinen lapsi (Russian Child). In it, she will examine the misunderstandings that lead an individual to live their life in an imaginary reality, as it were. “In my book, I analyse moments of revelation that make you see the world in a new way. The starting point for my work are the childhoods shaped by the Russian and Soviet culture, and I will draw from my own roots and experiences in my examination. I will reflect on the concepts, changes and linguistic and cultural heritage of cultural identity and integration. I particularly want to explore these themes from a child’s perspective, because that will best allow me to tackle the aspects that are difficult to conceive with any other forms of narrative,” she explains.

At the Saari Residence, she will focus on the groundwork for the book, its design and script writing. “During the working process of my first graphic novel Satakieli joka ei laulanut (The Nightingale That Would Not Sing, Suuri Kurpitsa, 2019) I feel I discovered a new approach to graphic novel narration: a way to tell two stories nestled inside each other in one story. What makes this type of narration fascinating to me is the correlation and reciprocal dialogue between the two stories, and I want to keep refining it in my coming graphic novel, “Juliana explains.

“In terms of my working process, the residency takes place at a significant time, as I will be taking my first steps to work on my next graphic novel in Saari. Of course, the book and its contents have existed as an idea for some time already, but I have tried to keep everything open and undecided. It will be exciting to see how the project proceeds and what kinds of challenges and surprises it will bring. It is particularly important to be able to maintain a certain level of sensitivity and also to give the book space to settle,” Juliana says.

Juliana Hyrri (born 1989) is a visual artist living in Helsinki who mainly works with drawing, painting and prose, and she combines these forms of expression in her comic art. Her debut graphic book, Satakieli joka ei laulanut (Suuri Kurpitsa, 2019), was published in March and describes different, sometimes sinister, childhoods. For Hyrri, art is a journey of exploration; she is inspired by secrets, satellite maps and old photographs.

Hyrri’s works have been exhibited in both private and group exhibitions in Finland, France, Japan, China and Germany, among other places. In November 2019, you can explore her work at Galleria Huuto in Helsinki. She has also been involved in several comic anthologies and finished first and second in the Oulu Nordic Comics Competition 2017 and 2018.

Hyrri is close to completing her Master of Arts studies in the programme of Visual Communication Design at Aalto University’s School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Her works can be found in the collections of Basware, Aalto University and several private parties.