Installation view of Inari Kiuru’s work <em>Nightwatch (the rites of summer)</em> 2022 on display as part of the <em>Melbourne Now</em> exhibition at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne from 24 March – 20 August 2023.    Image: Tom Ross

Inari Kiuru

Inari Kiuru
(b. 1972, Helsinki, Finland. Lives and works in Melbourne)

Inari Kiuru is a multidisciplinary artist and designer who works across jewellery, objects, photography and drawing. Known for her experimental and poetic approach, Kiuru finds beauty in the ordinary and the everyday, in a practice informed by her Finnish heritage, changing seasons, and the light and weather in urban landscapes.

The Twelve sacrifices of flowers, 2022 neckpiece comes from Kiuru’s ongoing series New Spring, Old Gods, which she began during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns. Unable to access her metalsmithing studio, the artist and designer fabricated neckpieces from plastic price tags, a material she had on hand, which are connected using only the tags’ locking mechanisms. When sorting the components, Kiuru found patterns emerging that evoked pre-Christian rites and ornaments connected with death, rebirth and nature’s re-emergence after a long winter. The Twelve sacrifices of flowers, 2022, encapsulate the series’ first designs and themes.

Covering the chest like a ceremonial ornament, these kinetic neckpieces move with the wearer, reflecting light and conjuring elemental natural imagery. Nightwatch (The rites of summer), 2022, introduces hand-pressed elements made from pigmented paper clay, bound like a traditional Finnish garland using metal wire. The deep colours and abstracted forms were inspired by Kiuru’s dreams, and move in spirit from spring towards the ripeness of summer. Kiuru says she felt the presence of her Finnish female ancestors when making the series, connecting her to a long line of craftspeople who have always gathered and prepared seasonally available materials to create.

Kiuru has exhibited in New Zealand, the United States and Europe, and has had work acquired by Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery and the Macmillan Collection at RMIT University. In 2022 New Spring, Old Gods was selected for Schmuck, the world’s oldest exhibition of contemporary jewellery work, held annually in Munich. Her wearable pieces, photographs and small sculptures have also been included in nationally touring major surveys, including JamFactory’s CONCRETE: Art Design Architecture (2019–21) and the Australian Design Centre’s Made/Worn: Australian Contemporary Jewellery (2020–23). Kiuru studied graphic design in Helsinki’s Aalto University (1995) and has Honours degrees in Visual Communication from Curtin University (2002) and in Fine Art: Object Based Design from RMIT University (2013).