Gene Anthony Santiago-Holt is a multimedia artist from Philadelphia. He creates drawings,and papier-mâché masks that function as props, and as alter-egos for his improvised video performances. His heavily processed videos incorporate original audio and found imagery including childhood photographs, pop-culture references, and religious iconography to reconcile his mixed heritage and troubled familial relationships.
He has exhibited internationally at PiranesiLAB in Moscow, Russia; American University in Washington, DC; The Glitter Box Theater in Pittsburgh, PA, and various other venues in the United States. Santiago-Holt graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2015 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in sculpture and a concentration in printmaking. He is currently an MFA candidate in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Delaware (2022), where he also teaches undergraduate printmaking and design classes.
In my work, I tell the story of personal grief stemming from generational trauma and family depression. Being of both Puerto Rican and European descent has left a disconnection within myself. I show the loss of culture and the ties that I have with my ancestors. In my current work, I mix family photos with animated illustrations and appropriated imagery. I accompany them with audio collages of field recordings, synthesizers, and glitches. The audio embodies the feeling of anxiety I've experienced being of mixed heritage. I distort the image to try to change the past, yet the images constantly play over in a loop. The past dictates the future, no matter how hard I try to erase it. Pockets of time are broken down and rearranged with added memories. Some memories change over time, as I discover more details of my past. I achieve this in film with intertwining portraits from my youth in different stages of development. But the disconnection with my culture is what keeps me searching for true answers. My work is contradictory in nature and it questions its existence as I do with myself. This is done with having different characters fade in and out from the film loops and breaking the loop but still enforcing it. Things constantly change but still stay the same, giving the feeling of being trapped.