KIRI-UNA BRITO MEUMANN
PHOTOGRAPHY BY AGNIESZKA CHABROS
STYLING BY SINEAD HARGREAVES
LURVE speaks to Kiri-Una Brito Meumann
The world sees the Internet and social media as a gift and a curse: the first for connecting the world and bringing people together, the last for allowing people to isolate themselves. Kiri-Una Brito Meumann uses them wisely, inviting users to discover her art and influences. A$AP Rocky commented one of her posts on Instagram, acknowledging the now 22-year-old artist’s works. A back-and-forth ensued and led her to meet the rapper and hang a piece in his flat in SoHo, New York City.
Following that special encounter, Brito Meumann reflects on the impact of social media on people’s lives. It definitely had a huge one on hers...
Can you introduce yourself to LURVE?
My name is Kiri-Una Brito Meumann. It includes my mum’s and dad’s last names, hence why it’s so long! I grew up mostly in Melbourne, Australia but I lived for some years in Salvador, Bahia in Brazil. I’m now a student and an artist.
Tell us about your upbringing in Brazil and Australia. What were you into, back then?
I was much younger when I lived in Brazil, which makes it difficult for me to explain the differences between growing up in Salvador and Melbourne. But I think that the experiences you live when you’re young shape you, so I’m sure there are a lot of aspects of my personality that come from living there. For the most part, I can tell you that growing up in Melbourne has been really easy. This is a very simple city to live in.
You travel a lot now. Do you ever miss staying in Bahia or Melbourne and the life you lived as a child/teenager?
I love travelling, it’s always been a huge part of who I am. Seeing things and stay in different places is essential to my work and my well-being. I’m back in my hometown of Bahia as we speak, and words can’t express how I feel. It’s been a few years now that I haven’t been back so I’m really excit- ed. The vibe here is just the best, it’s different from these other big cities I love visiting. It simply feels like home to me. Being with my family, eating my favourite food. It’s just perfect.
When did the interest for art show up? Did your dad, a German industrial designer, help sparking the light?
Definitely! Growing up around him, I always felt inspired by the things he was working on. Later on, I realised that I have this incredible designer who can help me with the construction of my own work. I collaborate with and talk to my dad a lot.
Photographs are the material you’ve chosen to work with. What do you see and try to show in pictures you print and put together?
Actually, I think that these works involving photographs were less about using photographs as such but more about their form. I wasn’t only interested in the picture, but also on how I would present it. I think that’s been my main focus when It comes to my work involving photographs.
Reading about you, your meeting with A$AP Rocky came up a lot. Do you consider it to be the highlight of your starting career?
Of course! It was an amazing experience to have someone you look up to be interested in your work. I am really grateful for it and if it made more people aware of my work, then great! But I definitely have more to offer.
You stated in a previous interview that you were “interested in the impact social media has on” people. What’s its impact on your life and your work?
I find it super interesting, because I’m experiencing it and having conversations with friends and other people about its impact on all of our lives. I’ve started to think that this is one of these things that either you hop on and roll with, or get left behind. Social media is only going to be bigger, so It’s important not to disregard it. This is part of our lives from now on, whether we like it or not. My most recent work (featured in this inter- view) came from my frustration with a certain Instagram culture that I’m not part of. In a way, I was taking this frustration about female bodies and art I see represented on Instagram and making my own from of “art” using my body.
An Instagram comment posted by A$AP Rocky led you to meet him and hang a piece at his place in New York City. Did the experience validate or change your initial thoughts on the use of social media?
It validated my initial thoughts, for sure! This experience is, without a doubt, what makes me believe in the positive use of social media.
On social media also, people fell in love with your style. Have you always been interested in fashion?
Always! I used to want to be in the fashion industry for so long! I lived in France for a year because I thought it would be useful to learn how to speak French. But now, I just enjoy watching the shows and collecting pieces I love.
What are some of your favourite brands and fashion designers?
I would pick Prada as my constant favourite. Every collection is so different from the previous ones. I love that about Prada. The house doesn’t have one distinct look, one signature that other brands often have or look for.
Some brands or designers that you would love to collaborate with?
Rei Kawakubo and Miuccia Prada, for sure!
Is there any museum, art fair or place in the world you dream to host an exhibition and display your art in?
This is a good question! In the near future, I’d like to show at Art Basel Miami, it looks like a whole lot of fun! But later on, I would love to have my work at the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, designed by Oscar Neimeyer. This is my must-go-to spot when I’m in Rio. I recently visited it again, it’s always a pleasure.