Helena Producciones is a non-profit, interdisciplinary collective best known for organizing the International Performance Festival in Cali, Colombia. Since 1997, this event has become an important fixture in a city whose recent art production has developed amidst precarious conditions in the absence of any sort of functional institutional apparatus.
Within a very broad definition of the idea of performance, the festival has provided a forum for both emerging and established artists from Colombia and abroad.
In 2006 the collective curated the XI regional ‘art salon’ (a federally sponsored juried biennial) in which they sought to expand the terrain of the visual arts to include a broader arena of cultural and social practices, many of them from the most isolated areas of the Pacific region.
The collective is also responsible for ‘Loop’ a semi-weekly television program that aired in Cali from 2000-2001 and that utilized the format of the variety show to disseminate the activities of local artists and punk bands. They have also collaborated on several occasions with Jairo Pinilla, a Colombian director whose low budget horror/thriller films from the early 80s have become cult classics. All of Helena’s projects are engaged with institutional critique and the making visible of countercultural practices deemed irrelevant by mainstream institutions but which drastically outnumber the handful of names that come to mind when thinking about contemporary art in Colombia and among which, ironically, two of Helena’s members may be counted. Perhaps more importantly, the daily spectacle of social and economic conflict specific to the Colombian context often proves to be fierce, even unfair, competition for contemporary art: it is difficult to find work more interesting or complicated than the context that produces it and to which it attempts to critically respond.
Members of Helena Producciones are: Wilson Díaz, Ana María Millán, Andrés Sandoval, Claudia Patricia Sarria, and Juan David Medina.
Abridged text by Michèle Faguet