87. The Enlightenment
150x100 cm acrylic on canvas
After the success of her painting called "The Biggest Ball," which remains on display at the office of a well-known Austrian millionaire, Richard Lugner, Helenna Jouja continues a heartbreaking enigma, whose notable and exciting life remains as enigmatic as the psychedelic characters of her "Ice Cream on the Cone" painting series. Her imaginative output is unrivaled, from ingenuous female artist to genius short film maker. Not long ago, Helenna Jouja was also a stunning socialite, socializing effortlessly with the notable, intelligent, controversial immigrants in so many countries, where she temporarily stayed.
Little is known about the deeper most recent private life of Helenna Joiuja, as she recently avoided crowds, not because of the ongoing corona virus problems, but because as she becomes skillful in painting, it`s becoming apparent to her that she`s borderline introverted. Can we now understand what led her to paint unusual scenes that you would probably not see on televisions, social media or photographs, but only on her unique imagination illustrated on canvas, that is so free from perversion despite the nakedness of the painting`s imaginary characters? Certainty not yet! But remember, perversion is in the eyes of the beholder, not only the so called "beauty."
"You disappointed me Helenna!" said her close friend, Gerd, upon seeing this painting. "The Enlightenment" in progress! He couldn´t believe his eyes that such an artistic woman as questionably decent as Helenna Jouja could paint something so offensive as "The Enlightenment." Are criticism and disappointment normal feedback for such an artist but why should an artist be held responsible for what one wants to see and expect, unless she got paid to paint what one has to see and expect. Deeply an artist is innocent of what others feel about her art, as if she`s not emphatically able to feel others`s impression. An artist will always be a virgin, innocent about the reality of others. An artist has no dirty mind, she sees every little detail as ugly or beautiful and paint it whenever necessary. Once an artist freed herself from expressing herself in painting, she just released herself to greatness, which is not common for self-proclaiming artists.
Another thing that is in question is if such freedom of expression can be inherited? Helenna Jouja's father, Jesus Barrera, was a professional musician, but her mother, Maria, was so disinterested in music, who was so surprised that it had taken Helenna Jouja only 3 days to learn, understand and speak English at the age of 5. Her mother was neither a musician or an artist. She was just an intelligent woman, who graduated in college a summa cum laude, and had no idea that her daughter, whom she named Helenna for being born with a light complexion would one day excel in the most competitive generation of arts ever. Is being a suspected genius at an early age an indicator that one would suddenly succeed to achieve freedom of expression in arts?
Moreover, could we trace Helenna Jouja's freedom of expression from the DNA of her great great-grandparents, who originated from Spain? Even Helenna Jouja`s father`s 500 year old house, that was passed on by her father´s ancestors to the latest bloodlines had two antique portraits of their great great-grandparents on the wall, was shrouded in mystery as if they were photo realistic, that one, upon seeing these portraits might have an impression that during the century they were painted, there was already technology for colored photos, but no, they were hand-painted beautifully, so realistic as if Leonardo da Vinci himself was the one who painted them. Were these portraits painted by one of the bloodlines of Helenna Jouja in the past centuries? Did Helenna Jouja inherit her exceptional talents in painting from him? It is rumored that in this very huge old house, which wide windows were always widely open, "mistakenly" or was it really a mistake, visited by a wild white dove which tail´s feathers slightly touched Helenna Jouja´s right delicate cheek when she was just a newly born baby, as the dove was trying to get away from the room, a rare incidence that Helenna Jouja herself described as an important omen, a premonition of the prominence to come, a similar omen that happened to Leonardo da Vinci when he was just an infant. Has the premonition already come true to Helenna Jouja, or is it just about to happen, certainly nobody knows yet when. Well, at least not probably in this century, but possibly in the next centuries to come. Helenna Jouja is such an ambitious woman, yet her ambition is not set for our generation as she always dreams of being famous in the next centuries to come and be in line with the great artists in the past such as Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, et al. Would it be nice to include with them a female artist, who is of Filipino origin, who can inspire the world that talent has no nationality as well as no gender?
Helenna Jouja is so fascinated with Leonardo da Vinci`s Last Supper, and so she created her own version of "the Last Supper" and called it "The Enlightenment," in the hope that in the next centuries "The Enlightenment" will find its special position in the limelight of the next most admired Arts in the next centuries. As da Vinci's Last supper continuously deteriorates on a wall of an old convent, sooner and later it wont´t have anymore the original strokes of da Vinci, and hence just like most antique paintings which still exist in our time, just restored and retouched by other contemporary artists.
"The Enlightenment" painting is a life comedy, a challenging idea for painting suggested by Helenna Jouja's art manager and gallerist, Hubert Thurnhofer, a serious interpretation on how matured people from all walks of life are losing a sense of morality, when poor homeless children are being ignored and left outdoors, unheard, desperate, and needing the right guidance but never had it. How everyone pretended to hear the message of God, or leaders or the oldies, but ends up doing the things that are forbidden and not ideal. The odd inclusion of a staircase right in the middle of the painting serves as a relevant symbol. Would you take the stairs to go up or down or join the crowds upstairs or downstairs, or would you rather be alone or with your dance partner? There are, of course, so many other life situations that are interesting and controversial or scandalous to paint but Helenna Jouja chose this time lighter issues in life and created more happy and satisfied people to show that despite the immorality, there is still hope to be enlightened from what is morally right or wrong. "The Enlightenment" is a symbol of hope, faith and love that one day everyone will find unity, love conditions, universal morals that are applicable for every society; and understanding that the truth will one day set everyone free finally, but the question of when will all these be possible that the Truth be proven the truth and nothing but the truth is still unknown. It can not be promised or sworn just like in the court of justice. In fact, the obvious mixture of the past and the present, the different sizes of characters in this painting is a ridiculous symbol n the sense that for many centuries the search for the truth still continues and far from over! "The Enlightenment is definitely another interpretation of Innocenticsm Art, a name given by Helenna Jouja herself to her paintings. An art is an Innocenticism Art if the characters in the painting are innocent about the danger that is about to happen, and the art lovers should guess where the danger lies.
Vienna, September 16, 2021, Helenna Jouja