Bahari Blue #17 – The Art of Hélio Januário

May 8, 20204 min read

Hélio Januário Pene, aka Link is a graphic designer, character designer, illustrator and comic book creator from Mozambique.

He randomly discovered his obsession with illustration and communication design very early. As a kid, Hélio always wanted to retell movies he had just watched on blank paper, feeding his love and passion for art. This led to his jump into the world of science fiction and fantasy where he loves to draw anthropomorphic characters. His love for personifying animals is prominent in his comic projects, F.O.R.C.E and Cocoripolis

I’m a fan of pop culture, illustration (which is a necessity), and venturing into the “fantastic universe” from which I do not wish to return. Telling stories in an illustrated format has become my way of life. As an illustrator, it is a place more than a habitat where I find ways to express myself.

Hélio Januário

Link worked as the illustrator and penciller on Os Informais, the first superhero comic book from Mozambique. The project was by ANIMA Estúdio Criativo where he worked and was an underground response to Black Panther.

Os Informais (The Informals)

Pene was one of the artists included in the collective exhibition “(Des) Construções” during Maputa Fast Forward in 2017 which was his first-ever exhibition. The curators described his work as using sarcasm, irony and humor as vehicles to express his critical view of society, showing Hélio’s multifaceted talent in the use of the tools at his disposal.

We totally agree. Hélio’s art is a delight to behold and one we can’t keep to ourselves.


Cocoricopolis by Hélio Januário
Cocoricopolis by Hélio Januário
Ororo by Hélio Januário
Ororo by Hélio Januário
Tuk-tuk (auto rickshaw) design by Hélio
El Dorado by Hélio "Link" Januário Pene
ElDorado by Hélio Januário Pene
Cute is for Princesses by Hélio Januário
Cute is for Princesses by Hélio Januário
Gordo from Cocoricopolis by Hélio Januário
Gordo from Cocoricopolis by Link Pene
Cocoricopolis prelude color page by Hélio Januário
Cocoricopolis prelude color page by Hélio Januário
Maputo Fast Forward appreciation Art by Hélio Januário
Art by Link Pene
Call Mom by Januário Hélio
Call Mom
Esticão from Os Informais illustrated by Hélios Januário
Esticão from Os Informais


We feature 10 pieces of art from each artist on Bahari Blue. But sometimes, we can’t help but include a few extras. ?We had to include these extras because of the humour, pop-culture references and just how cool they look.

Cocoricopolis - Duel of Champions by Pene Januário Hélio
Cocoricopolis: Duel of Champions
F.O.R.C.E. by Januário Hélio
F.O.R.C.E. by Januário Hélio
If I had superpowers (part 1) by Hélio Januário
If I had superpowers (part 1)
If I had superpowers by Hélio Januário
If I had superpowers (part 2)

See more of Helio Januario work on Instagram, Behance, Pinterest and his website.

Bahari Blue curated by Squid Mag's Kadi Yao Tay and Kofi Sydney Asare
Bahari Blue Series

Bahari Blue is Squid Mag’s Kadi Yao Tay and Kofi Sydney Asare’s and illustrator Bolaji “Art Nerd X” Olaloye’s scrapbook of favourite African (including the diaspora sometimes) artists they love, are inspired by and believe the whole world needs to know about.

So far we’ve featured Alfred AchiampongVenus BambisaMalcolm WopéSimangaliso SibayaKofi OfosuIfesinachi OrjiekweKudzai NgunduSalim BusuruRodney Tawanda NgunduJuni BaPoka ArtsNatasha Nayo, Hanson Akattti, Bertil Svanekiaer, Collyde Prime and Nils Britwum. See all the Bahari Blue features here.

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