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Eriya Miura

The Scent of Humanity (2020)

Digital print on cotton, embroidery, glass, paper, ...

To complete and translate the collected anthropological data of hedonic smell descriptions into a physical entity, I collaborated with olfactive designer, Magali K, to create a bespoke fragrance entitled “The Scent of Humanity”, comprising of the dominant smell descriptions derived from each continent. The 5 scents defining each continent are Asia: Frangipani; Europe: Freshly cut grass; North America: Fresh laundry; Central/South America: The sea; Africa: The rain; and the 6th smell of commonality: Sweat. The idea is to experiment whether these scents harmoniously blend within an olfactive point of view, to display an artistic and olfactive representation of the collective smell of humanity.

Each designated scent is applied to relevant embroidered smell descriptions belonging to the countries of each continent, providing an experience of sensory stimulation activating the visual, tactile and olfactory senses.

MA Project

Titled “Olfactory Mapping: A Scented Narrative of Humanity”, the purpose of this artistic research was to highlight the significance of the olfactory system in sociological contexts by designing an olfactory mapping system, and to define its potential in the fields of arts and sciences, through the mapping of olfactory (smell) descriptions with relevant anthropological and linguistic links, using memory as support.

This 140cm x 100cm digital print on 100% cotton contains the embroidered olfactory data of the 50+ people who participated in this study from over 17 countries and 30 cities. The information collected from the study is visualized into a tangible anthropogenic odour map completed and linked with scented thread, based on the participants’ demographics, geographical regions and personal relationship with scent. Golden threads link all our commonalities in smell memory together, while silver threads connect our place of origin with where we currently reside.

The inspiration behind this project came from my fascination with the human senses and how sensory stimulation can evoke lost memories in certain individuals with amnesia. This project tackling the olfactory system questions how it defines the way we think and act by interacting with emotional memory.

Knowing that smell can evoke lost memories even in individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia, this project demonstrates an understanding of how we can remember a smell without ever smelling it again, but only through the recollection of childhood and mostly positive memories, indicating the experience as humanity’s version of time travel. This project is another way of capturing and visualizing an intangible realm such as smell memory in an informative, meaningful and tactile way. The main questions that could be derived from viewing and experiencing the multi-sensorial artwork are personal, existential and self-reflective: “Where am I in this equation, how can I identify myself, and who can I relate to?”.


Eriya Miura is a visual artist whose primary focus is on tactile and informative design with a conceptual hybrid to its forms. She received her BFA from Parsons School of Design in New York, and MA degree from LUCA School of Arts in Brussels. The combination of craftsmanship, textile manipulations and digital design is important to the concept of her works. The sometimes moody and emotional atmosphere customarily consists of a dreamy, flowing colour palette, 3D textures and organic compositions. With a background in fashion and textiles, Eriya Miura’s design philosophy is to let the materials tell their own story. Her emphasis on storytelling through the medium of textiles transforms the ethereal into the tangible, integrating unconventional yet traditional methods of process and construction.