Kiri-Una Brito Meumann is showing cheek to female idealism

Our chat with the Melbourne artist and undeniable cool girl.

Kiri-Una Brito Meumann is making her mark on the world, one #GoldenDerriere at a time. Otherwise known as Kiri, the Melbourne-based undeniable cool kid creates unpretentious art that is honest, real and so very now.

A Brazilian-raised Prada/pasta-loving visual artist, Kiri showcases a heightened awareness of contemporary world issues (and impeccably juxtaposed high fashion/low key style) through her artworks and Instagram. We spoke to Kiri about her most recent creation, the #GoldenDerriere and what’s in store for a girl kicking goals every step she takes. 

Before we address the golden butt-shaped elephant in the room, tell us a bit about yourself. What is your full name and where did you come from?

Kiri-Una Brito Meumann is my full name. In Brazil it is custom to take both the mother’s and father’s last names, hence why it is so long! Haha. I was born in Melbourne, Australia and mostly grew up here but when I was young, I lived in Brazil for a number of years.

You have taken an iconic pop culture artefact of the current time, Kimmy K’s a$$, and turned it into a piece of art. Tell us a little about how the ‘Golden Derriere’ was formed. 

There are so many conceptual ideas behind me making this artwork, but I will try to keep it as simple as I can. Basically… I took Kim Kardashian West’s ass just as a reference of popular beauty ideals that exist in 2017. I felt like it wasn’t just enough to make a work that resembled her ass or the huge ass that girls are aspiring to have, but rather have something that exists beyond the physical world. 

Because, most often, these ideals are coming from images we see on the Internet and social media, it was really important to me to have this work translate not only in real life, but also exist in this other space – the Internet. This is the reason why I created the Hashtag #GoldenDerriere to be a physical part of the work, to invite people to take photographs of themselves with this monumental golden ass. 

It is so shiny and reflective that people can also take selfies in their reflection… This is exactly what I wanted the work to do, to let people put themselves into the work so it becomes more about what creative input the viewer and participant has. They now make their own version of the work, in a photograph.

It is meant to be humorous and playful and to, in a way, remind us of the absurdity that surrounds these beauty ideals. Something that I have also noticed is that we just love to take photos of ourselves in reflections of artworks, such as Jeff Koons’ balloon sculptures. We humans must have this inherent need to project ourselves onto things and take our own ownership of it. This work is basically saying, unlike traditional ways of thinking, that art doesn’t have the same impact when it’s photographed as seeing the original. This flips that idea.

And it has its own Instagram account! Genius idea.

Yes @golden_derriere #goldenderriere !!

Is it the first of many golden asses?

Yes! I am currently making another edition out of bronze. Ideally, I would like to have these situated in public locations around the world. It would be fascinating to see how people interact with the work without the confines of an indoor gallery space and with their various cultural backgrounds. 

Has transmedia and real-time pop culture always been an inspiring springboard for you?

I actually never took inspiration from real-time pop culture before, but since making this I have become super excited about exploring this further. I am a person of my time and this is what surrounds me constantly, I am definitely fascinated by it and think I will continue drawing inspiration from it in the future.

It is the relatable and somewhat comical ideals behind the sculpture that make it so appealing to everyone, no matter the level of artistic prowess? Is this something that is important to you when creating new pieces?

Definitely! I love that it instantly catches people’s eyes and an instinctual giggle! There is just something about it that is comical because it is not taking itself too seriously, it is meant to be humorous, it is meant to be accessible to anyone!

A few years ago, A$AP Rocky hit you up through Instagram, resulting in you installing a piece of your work in his NYC abode. Any bites from the West family yet? 

That experience I had with A$AP Rocky was incredible! It was a while ago and since then it really made me realise the power of social media. He found one of my past artworks over Instagram, we started DMing, and next thing you know I was installing it in his house in NYC. That experience was so incredibly humbling, to know that we are all human and that not one person is better than another because of their popularity or their celebrity status. It was so nice of him to see the potential in me so early on, when i didn’t have a huge following or anything.

…and as for the West family, I haven’t yet! But I would love to have Kim see it eventually!! 

Speaking of social media, your Instagram account @kiribirii has recently blown up for its perfectly curated mix of high-fashion, art, travel and fun (i.e. your life)! What exciting things have resulted in this media attention? 

Haha yes, I post lots of different stuff on my Instagram!!! It has made lots of things happen for me! It has allowed people overseas to see my interests and work!! I’m super excited to be in this issue of LURVE magazine alongside my artwork. Which is incredible. Also because I basically post pictures of everything I like, such as fashion, travel, etc. I have had lots of great interviews focusing not only on my art but also on my style with Vogue and Vestiare Collective, and more things that will be coming out soon! 

So fashion, art or both? What can we expect from Kiri Brito in the next few years? 

I’d say both! But it’s hard to say, I don’t think I can expect what the future brings, but I know it’s good!

Quickly, name your favourite/perfect/dream/ideal:

Artist: ME (hahaha nah, probably Koons right now)
Outfit: Prada, if this is long-term
Meal: Pasta!!!!!!
Career: Everything
Song: ‘Sei La, A Vida Tem Sempre Razao’ by Antonio Carlos Jobim & Miucha (best song ever)
Day: Holidays
Car: Bentley
Place: Bahia, Brazil
Accessory: Shoes
Snack: NY Pizza slice

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