Saint Electric / Estefanía Vallejo Santiago

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As an artist, I explore the intersection of colonialism, mental health, and identity. Through my work, I bring attention to the ongoing impacts of colonialism on mental health and the ways in which it shapes individual and collective identities. As an island-born Puerto Rican, I have witnessed how colonialism has had a profound impact on the mental health of individuals and communities who have been subjected to its violence and trauma. Often passed down through generations, this trauma perpetuates cycles of mental illness and distress. Furthermore, the erasure of cultural and spiritual practices that occurs under colonialism leaves marginalized communities without the tools to address and heal from these traumas. My art highlights these issues and offers a space for reflection sometimes with or without resolve. Working in painting, I draw inspiration from traditional practices and cultural symbolism. My art explores themes of displacement, belonging, and the search for identity under the vestiges of colonialism. Through my uses of color, child-like imagery, and colonial symbolism, I create a space for dialogue through decolonial celebration and reclamation of femme Afro-Latinx bodies.

Estefanía Vallejo Santiago, also known as “Saint Electric,” is a self-taught artist whose body of work revolves around themes of trauma, mental health, and colonial violence. Through her paintings, she reimagines these poignant experiences, presenting them through vibrant colors, vejigante masks, and childlike imagery.

Saint Electric / Estefanía Vallejo Santiago. Asi Vienen, 2023. Oil on canvas, 20 x 20 inches. Photograph is courtesy of the artist