ABOUT ME

portrait of hellen
Hello! My name is Hellen Songa. I am a Rwandan-Zambian landworker and certified climate-aware photographer who is usually based in England; however, I accept international collaborations (especially in Africa) too.
I am a professional freelance environmental photojournalist, socially engaged artist, exhibition curator and workshop facilitator. I have established several community projects with esteemed cultural organisations and people who share my values. I have commissioned artists and experts in the fields of cinematography, film directing, writing, somatic movement, health and wellbeing, food, and ecology.
With a focus on ecology, community activism, sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty, I create visual stories that I am proud of – offering a solutions perspective to environmental issues.

Portrait by Howard Jackson

EXHIBITIONS + AWARDS

‘URUGO’
Open Eye Gallery LOOK CLIMATE PHOTO LAB 2024: 01/2024 – 03/2024
On a long journey through Africa, I saught to discover the social and creative ecological activites of African communities, particularly my mother and father-lands, Rwanda and Zambia, and the impacts of these activities on the whole planet’s climate and local ecosystems. I worked In partnership with cinematography and film director Erick Otieno who created short films.
‘Queer Ecology Silent Spring’
Squash Liverpool Cafe 11/2023 – 02/2024
Princes Park, Liverpool 10/2023 – 10/2023
Northern Eye Festival 10/2023 – 10/2023
Williamson Art Gallery and Museum 01/2024 – 04/2024
‘With These Hands We Eat’
Granby Winter Garden, Liverpool 10/2023 – 11/2023
‘Ever Green Foraging’ 1st Place at LCR Photo Awards
Open Eye Gallery 03/2023 – 04/2023
Unity Theatre, Liverpool 06/2023 – 07/2023
‘MWALULA’
Open Eye Gallery LOOK CLIMATE PHOTO BIENNIAL 2022: 07/2022 – 09/2022
Capoeira For All studio, Liverpool 11/2022 – 04/2023
Unity Theatre, Liverpool 06/2023 – 07/2023
Smithdown Social, Liverpool, with Blackfest 10/2023 – 11/2023
4 Community Gardens in Liverpool 07/2022 – 07/2023
‘Scouse Flowerhouse’
Part of FROM HERE at Open Eye Gallery 12/2022 – 12/2022
Unity Theatre, Liverpool 06/2023 – 07/2023
‘Volunteer Voices’
Open Eye Gallery LOOK CLIMATE LAB 2022: 01/2022 – 09/2022
Unity Theatre, Liverpool 06/2023 – 07/2023

RECENT FREELANCE ROLES

Resident Artist at Granby Winter Garden: I curated 3 neighbourhood dinners for local communiry members in Toxteth. The dinners were catered for with plant-based meals by neighbours and different community food businesses. I prompted conversations about what makes a neighbhood and what foods can be grown on our streets. I created a visual documentation of the harvesting, purchasing, cooking and sit down dinners.
Arts Council Lottery Projects Grantee: I was granted £28286 to produce a project that gathered local Queer residents into community spaces in Toxteth, Liverpool. I partnered with 7 community organisations and commissioned 12 multidisciplinary artists and community activists to engage and facilitate ecology related creative workshops. We created short individual film stories, worked with an ecologist to lead a park walk, danced and wrote poetry, made natural crafts and all organic food and venues were sourced within Toxteth. I organised a touring outdoor exhibition and Silent Spring film was launched.
Teaching Assistant (Intern) for UCEN Photography and Social Practice BA: With the Course Leader and Lecturer for the Collaboration and Exhibition Module, I developed new methods to improve my technical approach as a photographer and considered new ways of adaptive teaching by mentoring higher education students wanting to enter the industry.
Visual Storytelling Workshop Facilitator: I was granted £3500 by Arts Council England, with match funding by Open Eye Gallery for their LOOK Climate Photo Biennial 2022, to host 8 ‘Culture of Growing’ visual storytelling workshops at 4 different community gardens.
Board of Directors for Squash Liverpool C.I.C, an art and health initiative, cafe, shop, community garden and seed-saving library.

PUBLICATION FEATURES

Galdem: These portraits are an intimate look at the people fighting hunger in Liverpool. December 8 2022.
Open Eye Gallery PLATFORM Issue 3: HOPE. February 12, 2021.
Rooted Zine Issue 10: Capturing: Humans of People Power. January 10, 2020.
Baltic Triangle: Vertical Farm Growing in the Basement of Baltic School Launches its New Greens Project. November 5, 2019.

COLLABORATORS