Helen Moir was born in England and on leaving school she studied Art and Design at Manchester Regional college of Art. At a later stage she studied Fine Arts and History of Art at Unisa and was awarded a BA Hons Fine Arts degree.
On arrival in Swaziland, Helen and a friend started the Swaziland Art Society, which flourished for thirty years and gave established and aspiring local artists an opportunity to exhibit, to attend workshops, lectures and lessons which would have otherwise been denied to them.
Helen worked as a designer of fashion and fabrics at Mantenga Craft centre in the late 1970s and early 1980s alongside Austin Hleza, Peter Armstrong and an international team, and has also taught at art at Waterford Kamhlaba School.
For the last fifteen years, she has concentrated on her own art-work and on giving private lessons to adults. Her pupils have ranged from street children to factory workers, housewives and diplomats to members of the Royal Family.
Helen has exhibited her work widely in Swaziland and South Africa in both group and solo exhibitions. In addition to exhibitions at Indingilizi, Yebo and Swaziland Art Society, her work has been shown at The Pretoria Art Museum, Standard Bank gallery, Johannesburg, the Ekurhuleni Fine Arts Awards Exhibitions in 1999 and 2001, the Tina Skuken Gallery, Faerie Glen, Pretoria and the RaMoma Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya.
Helen’s artworks form part of private collections in many parts of the world, including Swaziland, South Africa, Great Britain, USA, Australia, Kenya and Denmark.
Helen’s work can also been seen in the Fine Art collection of the Swaziland National Museum, and in public buildings such as Pigg’s Peak Protea Hotel, the former Barclay’s Bank, Nhlangano, the University of Swaziland and Conco Head Office, Matsapha.
The theme of the work displayed here is Landscape and Nature in Swaziland. The inspiration for much of the artwork Helen has created over the past twenty years is derived from humanity’s relationship with Nature, a relationship which has grown ever more distant with passing centuries, a fact which is reflected in humanity’s negative effect on the environment.
In the cyclical change of seasons and natural processes of germination, growth, decay and resurrection, Helen finds metaphors for life on earth. In her artworks, she tries to convey her belief in the connectedness of all living things and to convey her respect for nature to the viewer. She also conveys something of the process of disintegration which occurs through exposure to the elements, seeing in these processes metaphors for the disintegration of society during the present era of change and upheaval.
However, Helen prefers not to take a negative view, nature is more powerful than humanity and in her artwork she endeavours to express her joy and wonder at the beauty that surrounds us that we are able to witness every day.
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