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Santiago Hellen
Digital Artwork

1 Black Lives Matter.JPG

Black Lives Matter
This artwork was made in the context of 2020's BLM marches, which had a global repercussion. I want to give space to oppressed identities throughout the whole year but this was a special opportunity as it was focused on black people particularly, and brought the attention to most Argentinians as well to question their own racism.

11 Brigette.JPG

Brigette
This ambivalent photograph was taken in an erotic photoshoot in 2020 featuring genderfluid model and sex worker Nyuuchii.

6 Lesbos.JPG

Lesbos
Lesbos is one of the first digital artworks I made entirely from stock photography and it is one of my first attempts to portray my own LGBT+ community and find my empowerment with it.

5 Mi Piel Se Quema.JPG

Mi Piel Se Quema
This is one of the photographs that resulted of the photoshoot with one of the most famous drag queens of my hometown La Plata, Claudia Phuego, former Petra Diphusa. She is a pioneer of drag in this city and a strong voice of the Marica community.

3 - Frei.JPG

Frei
I worked with Mexican gay artist Felix D'Eon's photographs in late 2020. His art has a unique and passionate essence.

7 Celebration.JPG

Celebration
This artwork was made with a photograph from a Senegalese event in Buenos Aires. It was used as the official art for the 'Festival por los Derechos de lxs Migrantes Senegaleses' (Festival for Senegalese Migrant's rights), an event I contributed to organize at the end of 2020 that aimed to raise awareness about police brutality and systemic racism in La Plata.

Santiago Hellen is a non-binary photographer and digital artist, specializing in photomanipulation. They were born in La Plata, Argentina on March 26th of 1999. Hellen exhibited their work in the Netherlands, Mexico and Argentina, and their images were also used for cover art in various books and CD's. They study Visual Arts, with a major in, Scenogrpahy, at Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina.

 

Santiago Hellen’s photography is highly influenced by their musical education based in Shin’ichi Suzuki’s method, in which learning happens the same way as the acquisition of the mother tongue. This approach to music, as well as the internalization of art at a very early age and the influence of their father —who was a painter and a sculptor— awakened in Hellen a very curious and artistic personality. With the years, nonetheless, Santiago was more inclined to visual arts and discovered his passion for photography at age twelve when he got his first camera. He practiced selfportraiture for six years until he started photographing other people. Hellen’s artworks integrate spiritual beliefs and activism for LGBT+ and marginalized people into an explosion of color. Visual surrealism is consolidated as their personal mark.
 

www.behance.net/santiagohellen
 

www.instagram.com/santiagohellen_

 

Of the work featured here, Hellen states:

 

‘When I think about ecstasy I think about the feeling in my body that I find every time I produce art with a message. This is the most honest and raw thing I have ever experienced. Although I conceive it as ‘doing the right thing for the right reason’, activism can carry a lot of stress and, sometimes, pain. When I’m not portraying people that say a statement and giving space to their voices, I intend to carry my own message from my personal struggles. I would like to change this way of thinking about activism being necessarily a difficult issue that shortens life or brings diseases. I believe that taking time for celebration is as important as standing up for something, and if both things are present at the same time, that’s even better. In every case, in these moments is where I find the purest joy. Visibility of historically oppressed identities is happiness in itself.’