“Even the strongest superhero needs allies,” writes poet, painter, and graffiti artist Hera below a hand-painted sculpture of a child in bunny ears.
“The rabbit, being the fragile animal it is, became a survival specialist,” she explains, calling the easily startled prey animal a “symbol of resilience” and “strength” that befriends our inner child during lean times. Alongside fellow German artist Falk Lehmann, Hera, or Jasmin Siddiqui as she is known to friends and family, formed one half of trailblazing graffiti duo HERAKUT in a collaboration that propelled the duo to street-art royalty during their 16 years together.
Now working on her own, Hera unveils new sculptures and paintings this month in a solo show at Corey Helford Gallery. The exhibition, tHERApy room 2, includes a cast of animal-hooded characters who peer out from their disguises with wide eyes, and are often accompanied by supportive messages from Hera: “Each note I write and share with the world is actually a message addressed to that inner child, the vulnerable part that needs that extra encouragement, that talk of hope, of magic, and a little bit of escapism.”
Calling each new work a “therapy session,” Hera shifts between brush-wielding therapist and animal-hooded patient, seeing herself underneath all the rabbit metaphors and racoon masks. “It seems as if I had never stopped working in a duo,” she says of her alter ego, calling the dynamic between patient (Jasmine) and therapist (Hera) both “schizophrenic and wholesome at the same time.”
Carrying her signature aesthetic—bold, chaotic, elegant, and tender—over to her solo work, Hera combines graffiti, illustration, and poetry to create an emotional hailstorm, one best weathered with friends and allies at our side. “We don’t just need resilient people to sit tight and stay alive,” Hera muses. “We need their continued support and involvement.”
tHERApy room 2 runs through May 27, 2023, at Corey Helford Gallery in downtown Los Angeles. For more information, please visit the gallery’s website here.
“Each note I write and share with the world is actually a message addressed to that inner child, the vulnerable part that needs that extra encouragement, that talk of hope, of magic, and a little bit of escapism.” — Hera of HERAKUT
Hera of HERAKUT: Instagram