Tamara Djurovic, known as the artist Hyuro, uses the symbolism of the face, namely the lack thereof in her works, to project multiple destinies onto her characters. This allows her audience both to empathise with, and also more deeply immerse themselves in, her murals.
Hyuro's work harnesses the power of suggestion. Rather than leaving a wholly open interpretation, or one too fixed, the Argentina-born artist gently points us in the right direction. The main way she does this is through building a body of relatable characters to whom many will find a part of their life akin to.
It starts with her focus - the human body. We've all got one. It's a starting point from which to weave a narrative. Then comes the textures and textiles. What the characters wear, what textiles they're making, or what ones they're covered in, are particularly focal in her works. We are not just who we are or products of our environment, but also defined by what we create. For the women in her works, its this. For Hyuro, it's the art itself.
Predominantly old fashioned clothing, her choices are evocative of a bygone era, yet one that still has important repercussions today. Although beautiful in their intricacy, the subdued palette used for the particularly demure dresses acts as a comment on patriarchal values and the value of the female in society.
Little of the artist is known and this isn't by accident. Although far from an anonymous crusader, Hyuro has chosen for the focus to remain on her art, less it start to become imbued with too much of her own life and story. When creating such evocative and questioning pieces, adding a biography to the mix can complicate the readings that occur on a very primal and natural level, the moments when we first see an image and feel something could easily become distorted.
It's like Hyuro takes pride in the moment that someone looks up at her art and sees a mirror - their own head becoming a part of the painting. Just like those cutouts often found at amusements parks, with the bodacious blonde and muscled surfer dude whose faces are cut out to insert our own, passersby are being called upon to complete the work. Only, there is no fantasy here. Her paintings don't necessarily trade in misery, but they have a call-to-arms feeling about them as if she's saying Look, how far have we really come? We're better than this.
As with old photographs, even ones that we have never seen, there's an immediacy and intimacy to our connection with them. Something about the quality of age blurs socioeconomic boundaries. Someone we may never have related to at the time, now feels much closer. As brave as the questions they raise may be, there's a sense of trepidation too. This is an artist is trying to sound out the world around her - asking for steps, not leaps.
Part of the attraction is surely this sensitivity. Because not only can women see themselves, but men their mothers, their wives and their daughters. It's an open dialogue, a forum for reflective thoughts. Eschewing the brash and confrontational, Hyuro's work is far more powerful, carrying an air of the words every child took stock of when a parent uttered them - I'm not angry, I'm just disappointed.
Certainly, the images have a quality of hailing from times we no longer live in, but that doesn't mean that a shadow hasn't been cast, that changes have all been made and everything's perfect. It's far from it and, through the medium of muralism, Hyuro asks us to consider what is yet to be done.
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