EntertainmentLife & Arts

Gallery Delta co-founder dies

EGENDARY visual artiste and Gallery Delta co-founder Helen Lieros, pictured, has died. 

She was 81. 

National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (Nacz) director Nicholas Moyo said he was shocked by the death of the veteran and dedicated painter. 

“The Nacz is shocked by the death of Helen . . . one of Zimbabwe’s finest painters belonging to a special group of the most enthusiastic teachers of art the nation has ever seen,” he said. 

She was one of the 40 legends honoured at this year’s National Arts Merit Awards (Nama). 

“Helen was a visual artist par excellence, with several artworks on the permanent collection at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ). With the death of Helen, Zimbabwe has lost an exceptionally talented practitioner and arts administrator who contributed to the growth and development of the visual arts by putting the sector on the world’s artistic map,” Moyo added. 

Born in Gweru, Helen, together with her husband Roy Guthrie, established Gallery Delta which has been very instrumental in nurturing a lot of young visual artists by giving them space to showcase their respective aesthetic talents. 

The NGZ said Sisi Helen, as Lieros was affectionately known in the arts circles, has left a huge gap which shall be difficult to fill. 

“Sisi Helen led one of the most illustrious art careers in the land; one that spans across six decades, expressing a life that contributed to the best and the brightest of Zimbabwean art, grounded in the concept of training artists over a long period of time, with Berry Bickle, Greg Shaw, Cosmas Shiridzinomwa, Gina Maxim, Misheck Masamvu, Admire Kamudzengerere and Richar Mudariki being among her mentees,” the NGZ said. 

From her co-founding of the Circle Art Group in reaction to Frank McEwen’s monolithic curation at the then National Gallery of Rhodesia, Lieros was evocative in taking art across cultures and making it accessible to the general population.