Helena Janečić

Portrait Helena Janečić
© Ali Ghandtschi

Helena Janečić was born in 1979 in Osijek, Croatia. She was already drawing comics for the school newspaper when she was a pupil. She later concentrated on painting, but always found her way back to comics. She studied art at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, until 2003 and earned a master’s degree at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 2007.

In her mostly large-format paintings she often shows pastoral-idyllic representations of Slavic peasant women. In her comics and comic strips, she takes up the styles of the American and Italian mainstream and thus further enriches the queer discourse with a new aspect. The protagonists of her works are mostly women who radiate self-confidence and redefine traditions. Janečić deals with homosexual identity and openly shows images of lesbian sexuality. She created a comic series about the superhero Horny Dyke, who helps women in trouble with her supernatural powers, and the Snaša cycle, in which she discusses lesbian identity in the context of the Slavic village. Janečić’s works are full of wit and combine aesthetic rigor, personal issues, and social commentary.

Janečić has also shown her paintings and comics in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Croatia and abroad. Some of her comics have been included in an anthology of female comics in the Balkans »Ženski strip na Balkanu« (2010). She also illustrated the children’s book »The Lion and the Gibbon« (2014) by Atakelty Hailu and the booklet for the first CD by the queer-feminist choir Le Zbor Janečić received the Ex Aequo Award at the 20th and 23rd Slavonian Biennials and her works were included in Erste Group’s 2009 art collection. She has been a member of the Croatian Artists’ Association since 2010. Janečić lives as a freelance painter and comic book author in Zagreb, Croatia.