Mongolian Australian Street Artist ‘Heesco’ attracts tourists to Yarram
On the edge of Victoria, south-east to Melbourne lies the small country town of Yarram. With a population of just over 2000 people, Yarram is now becoming known for its extraordinary murals, titled ‘Heesco Town’, designed by street-artist Khürelbaataryn Khosnaran, better known as Heesco.
Born and raised in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Heesco always had a love for painting and drawing. He recalls being 13-14, living in Poland, exploring fine art galleries, and marvelling at the work of great painting masters.
Providing life to dull canvases, Heesco’s unique style is also influenced by comic books and heavy metal album covers.
He says, “[I was drawn to the] freedom of art.”
“I liked the idea of the career of an artist. They are free to do whatever they want to and express any kind of ideas and opinions.”
Heesco says that art is something he “cannot go without” and that finding a career in art has been a great joy in his life.
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As with his work on ‘Heesco Town’, Heesco admits there is something special about working for different communities and seeing how his art can completely change the environment.
“Especially as my work is public and outside, it belongs to everyone,” Heesco says, adding, “even if it changes one person’s day then it is worth it.”
It took a while before Heesco incorporated the beauty of Mongolian culture in his work.
He says, “I was creating graffiti and hip-hop characters in traditional Mongolian dress. It was interesting to match these different, opposite cultures and create such visual mashups.”
“Not many people know about Mongolian history, despite there being centuries and centuries of material there. It never takes me long to find something new,” he adds.
“We are very proud of Heesco, a proud Mongolian Australian, and are working closely with him in support of his artistic talents as well as promoting Mongolia in Australia. There is a lot to learn about Mongolian culture and Heesco has put Mongolia on the map with a unique style of street art. He is an example of what you can achieve if you put your mind to it,”
– said His Excellency Chuluunhuu Batlai Ambassador of Mongolia to Australia.
Heesco’s murals are joyous, filled with vibrancy and colour. One of his signature works- a collaboration with other artists depicting former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser- represents values of unity that Heesco feels strongly about.
He says that at the time he made this mural, he had been creating many works depicting political figures in a more negative light.
“It occurred to me that it is easy to attack those people and criticise them,” Heesco says, “I wanted to do something that was more positive.”
While Heesco was working on murals in Yarram for a friend, local farmer Eric Greenaway suggested that he make several more murals for the town and title the project ‘Heesco Town’.
Heesco says that this project has introduced an abundance of tourism into the area; something that has helped the community immensely following the bushfires and the impact of the pandemic on the area.
“People started coming up to me, telling me different stories,” Heesco says.
“[The murals are a] collaboration between local businesses, residents and myself. Very quickly all sorts of stories started to emerge.”
‘Heesco Town’ is unique and meaningful and continues to shape the local identity of Yarram.
Heesco says, “it is good to see how it has changed the town, but I would not be able to do it without the locals.”
Click HERE to find out more about Heesco and ‘Heesco Town’