Your Unofficial Guide to Kyrgyz Republic

From Kyrgyz Republic to Australian Street Art

From Kyrgyz Republic to Australian Street Art

Usually all our street art pieces are dedicated to local artists. Like this Bishkek Street Art Guide. But today it is about a talented artist based in Australia, who is getting attention in local media thanks to one of his works. 

The work, which made Kyrgyz news outlets so interested in Heesco, has a Kyrgyz man wearing a traditional Kyrgyz head-wear, kalpak. Hosnaran Hurelbaatar, also known as Heesco, is an Australian artist based in Melbourne. The nickname came from his schoolmates, Heesco now doesn't even remember how exactly and thinks it's a derivative from shortening his name (Hosoo — Hosco — Heesco). These days, as he says, everyone calls him that including his own family — so it became his official name, especially here in Australia, where it’s hard for people to pronounce his proper name.

Ever since he was a kid he always wanted to draw and paint. Heesco's father was quite a skilled artist, and taught his son early some of the basics of drawing. When Heesco got older and finished high school, he wanted to become an artist, and came to Australia to pursue his passion to study fine art. He graduated from Sydney College of the Arts with a bachelor's degree in Visual Arts majoring in painting back in 2005, and since then pursued his career, which led him to painting walls at a large scale recently.

I’m a full time artist now doing what I always wanted to do, so I have to say I’m quite happy doing what I do.
— Heesco

Heesco says he was always interested in Central Asia as he was born and raised in Mongolia. Growing up in Ulaanbaatar in the 1980s he was surrounded by Russian culture. Both his kindergarten and then school were Russian. He remembers always being aware of the republics of the former USSR, because a lot of them had quite a lot of similarities in physical appearance to Mongolians, but also culturally too. 'From that understanding', says Heesco, 'I was always aware of the connections between our cultures'. 

I have never been to the Kyrgyz Republic, but would love to visit one day and paint a wall if possible. I admit I don’t know too much about the Kyrgyz Republic and I’m willing to learn as much as I can, but my instinct tells me that I will get along with the Kyrgyz people well.
— Heesco

Heesco says his mural doesn’t have a title as such. He was given an opportunity to paint a big wall with his own design and artwork, and he took the opportunity to paint a male figure of Central Asian origin. He says it was because overall, in Australia, and in the Western countries in general, he always feels that the Asian male figure is underrepresented. Heesco wanted to paint a strong, confident male character that will stand out and draw attention. 

I wasn’t able to find out more about the person on the photo, but the image was perfect in terms of depicting a strong, confident, handsome male character, that you don’t really see depicted anywhere at that scale. 
— Heesco

The man on the photo was compared in local social media to Satar Dikambaev, a Kyrgyz actor, head of stunt performers group and stunt coordinator. But despite the similarity, it turned out that it is not Satar Dikamaev. Heesco saw the photo he found during his research on one of the websites. The man on the photo is currently still unidentified.

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