Eilen Itzel Mena (b. 1994) is an Afro-Dominican American artist, writer and community organizer from the South Bronx, NY, now based in London, UK. She graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2017, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and is currently an MFA candidate in painting at the Slade School of Fine Arts (UCL) in London, UK. Her visual arts practice synthesizes Abstract Expressionism, Surrealism and African Diaspora spiritual frameworks through an interdisciplinary process.
In her fine art media and social practice, she serves as a creative collaborator for Honey and Smoke, a global artist community and platform focused on creating space for artists to meditate on the important themes of our time. H&S explores these themes through spear heading creative inquiry, education, interactive experiences and digital content. Mena has exhibited work in New York, Mexico, New Zealand and London among other places. She has been covered by various publications such as the New York Times, Vogue, Cultured Magazine, and Hyperallergic, amongst others. Her work has also been featured on HBO’s Insecure and Random Acts of Flyness as well as Showtime’s Flatbush Misdemeanours.
Her multifaceted creative practice helps her connect African Diaspora, spirituality, culture, identity, and purpose. Her painting work explores the relationship between childhood and adulthood in order to bring forth confidence, healing and activation of purpose. Highlighting adult concepts with a childlike aesthetic, allows her to access joy while reimagining and challenging representations of trauma and emotional space. Her compositions reflect dreams, emotions and spiritual experiences. Her work allows for the re-envisioning of reality and expansion of what is possible in our social and environmental interactions.
The color combinations she uses in her work are inspired by different African indigenous cultures. Her visual language manifests through a lexicon of repeating shapes, figures, inversions and forms such as rainbows, hearts, flowers, and clouds, amongst others. They all serve their own meaning and purpose in this language. Through semi figurative and abstract imagery, she visualizes real and imaginative spaces. By mixing in remnants of the figure within abstracted colorful environments, she conveys a space in which the body and the spirit can find alignment and reconnection.