Helena Baka is a first-generation Albanian-American artist from Chicago, Illinois. Helena's work mainly features colorful, abstract figures such as the two-headed eagle and other fabricated creatures inspired by the flawed, misunderstood creatures of Greek mythology. Her work mostly consists of autobiographical paintings, drawings and sculptures that depict images of constructed characters and personal symbolism based on her overall identity. Interweaving themes of cultural diaspora, femininity, and the subconscious mind, her work often reveals the struggles of sexual appeal, body image, dual cultural identities, and self-discovery. Along with ceramics & soft sculpture, the mediums she uses range from acrylic and oil paint to chalk and oil pastels to achieve a clustered image that communicates the complexity of the subject matter. Helena currently lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is a student expecting her BFA in 2021 from Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. She is the co-founder of Sponge Magazine, a digital and printed publication for women, non-binary, LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC artists.
Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. 2021 B.F.A. candidate, New Studio Practice.
Selected Group Exhibitions:
2021 - Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, "MIAD Senior Thesis Exhibition 2021," Milwaukee, WI
2021 - Yours Truly Studio, "Grilled Cheese Grant 2021," Milwaukee, WI
2021 - Woman Made Gallery, "4th Midwest Open," Chicago, IL
2020 - Between Two Galleries, "meeting in between pillars," Milwaukee, WI
2020 - Artist at Washington Heights Artists Front Yard Pop-up Sale, Milwaukee, WI
2020 - Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, “Junior Stew,” Milwaukee, WI
2019 - Mobile Design Box, New Genre Collaboration Group Exhibition, Milwaukee, WI
2019 - Lynden Sculpture Garden, New Genre Collaboration Performance, Milwaukee, WI
2018 - Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, “Singularity & Multiplicity: Ritual,” Milwaukee, WI
2018 - “in between heaven and hell,” curated by Nikki Barron. Chicago, IL
2021 - Co-founder of online publication, "Sponge Magazine"
2020 - Part-time teacher’s assistant at Walker’s Point Center for the Arts, Milwaukee, WI
2020 - Entrepreneur of small business on online Etsy shop, “artbug666”
2020 - Washington Heights Artists Front Yard Pop-up Sale, Milwaukee, WI
Publications & Media:
"Artist Feature: Helena Baka." Interview with Les Femmes Folles. January 2021.
"issue #9: horror." Grain of Salt Magazine. October 2020.
“Re-imagine: Justice Manifesto.” MIAD/UWM Art in Action Collaboration. October 2020. Page 11.
“Junior Project 2020 Catalog.” MIAD FA/NSP. April 2020. Pages 5 - 8.
“The Psychoanalysis Behind Improvisation & Tarot.” Interview with Anja Notanja Sieger. October 2019.
2nd Place Finalist for Grilled Cheese Grant. Milwaukee, WI. 2021
Presidential Annual Scholarship. Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, Milwaukee, WI. 2017 - 2021
Gerald C. Harms Scholarship. Painters’ District Council #14, Chicago, IL. 2017 - 2021