Dennis and Denise Lim own an original piece of Helen Andersen art and two of her lithographs, so Denise took note when she saw the following entry in Victoria’s Royal Oak Burial Park book. Anna (Danica’s sister) and Thorne Won (Denise’s bother) just forwarded this entry:
Cremated – no marker
Artist and activist, died December 23, 1995
Helen Andersen was born in Winnipeg, the daughter of
a physician, and grew up in a house filled with Indian art. She
worked as a nurse and moved to Vancouver where she began
her art training.
Andersen moved to Victoria in 1980. She was a student
of the Victoria College of Art and played an active role in the
Saanich Peninsula Arts and Crafts Society. The evolution of
Andersen’s paintings culminated in a series of bright and
expressive canvases about natives and women.
She was also a peace activist, and received a special prize
for her efforts at a conference in Warsaw in 1987.
Excuse the word “Indian”, Red Bear. As you know, it was a common, if inaccurate bit of vocabulary used in the 20th century. “Native” or “aboriginal” would have been better choices.
Thank you Denise, Dennis, Anna and Thorne; that’s a pretty succinct little summary. I’ll add to it with a scan of a previously unpublished photo of Helen standing in front of one of her larger works.
I am not sure of the year, but the flags suggest Canada Day and the location is Victoria, British Columbia. Helen was not afraid to work big. Indeed, it would be nice to know where some of her largest canvases are now. I hope they survive. There were some terrific large pieces, especially images of native elders. I have photos (on Helen’s web site) but no knowledge of the whereabouts of many of the originals.