The painting “Helena” is a tribute to a young woman, Helena Gualinga, who at the age of just 19 embodies the strength and resilience of her Kichwa Sarayuku community in the Amazon.
Daughter of a Swedish father and an indigenous Sarayaku Quichua mother, Helena grew up between Europe and the Amazon, a double belonging that makes her story even more fascinating.
Deep in the rainforest, his community of just 1,500 individuals constantly battles threats from the oil industry.
In 2002, the devastation caused by a Chevron subsidiary, with the help of the Ecuadorian army, affected the biodiversity and sacred places of this land.
Inspired by her legacy of courageous women, Helena joined the fight for indigenous women’s human rights. Her mother, sister, aunt and grandmother were tireless advocates for the community.
In 2012, the Sarayaku took the Ecuadorian government to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, proving that no one had asked the community’s permission to exploit their lands.
Helena’s education was key to becoming Sarayaku’s spokesperson and an important figure in the fight against climate change, pollution and the exploitation of indigenous lands.
Helena is co-founder of the organization Polluters Out and leads a global coalition of young people calling for the removal of fossil fuels from indigenous lands.
This painting captures the essence of this extraordinary woman, who embodies indigenous leadership, women’s empowerment and a deep connection to nature.
Helena Gualinga teaches us that humanity is not separate from nature, but is an integral part of it.
She represents hope for a better world where harmony between humanity and nature is possible.