Travellers and residents of Africa, we are all familiar with the iconic ‘upside down tree”, the iconic baobab of Africa which stands much of the year bare and sculptural against the clear winter sky in Zimbabwe.
Its branches twist and turn in the dry air, despairing roots seeking moisture; the thirsty supplications of a gothic giant princess from a Grimms Fairy tale….
Ponderous leafless princess
with advance guard of thorns
to slow the march of time.
awaiting a kiss
from the first rain.
Lin Barrie 2021
Much as I love sketching and painting this stark dry tracery of branches beneath the cloudless skies of our Zimbabwean lowveld winters, I bless the promise of a wet summer.
Before the rainy season even truly begins, the baobabs pull resources from deep within themselves and spring into fresh green leaves, palm-shaped and joyous in anticipation of cloudy skies as they drop to the ground at our Tsavene house in the Save Valley Conservancy.
Baobabs are my icons, representative of all that I love in the wilderness. Providing sustenance and shelter to a myriad creatures, including man, they are icons of the ecosystems of birth and growth and death all around me.
Their tracery of branches and baubles of buds, flowers and then pods are all the decoration a naturally festive tree needs! Pure and joyous inspiration for my artworks.
Zimbabwean storytellers, dreamers, poets, artists, and craftspeople embrace the baobab.
I collect the wonderful wire baobabs that are sold on the side of the road. These wire trees grace my home and many tourism lodges such as Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, all year round.
In the festive season we merely add more beaded baubles…….
I see baobab flower imagery everywhere…
On the edge of Gonarezhou National Park, Mahenye Village hut paintings seem to celebrate the shape of this beauty…
I bless the rains down in Africa….
The first smatterings of fat drops that escape their prison of cloud and hit the dry red earth waft an unforgettable scent into the air. Redolent of herbs, bare earth and dusty sunsets, this smell is called ‘petrichor’ and of course can be smelt worldwide with the first rains on thirsty earth, but it seems nowhere more powerful, more nostalgic , more sweet, than here on our own home ground!
A season of rain, renewal and hopefully abundance is our hot hot summertime in Zimbabwe, A time of flowers, butterflies and crops growing in the ground.
Christmas, the festive holidays, bring families together in normal times, but in these covid times travel is restricted and many families have to rely on photographs, shared memories and messages to be together. Handmade baubles that I have posted to far-flung family grace their Christmas trees worldwide every year.
Our house is a place of memories, of nurturing. Baobab stained glass windows and baobab muesli if you want to eat healthy….
The rains of Africa have brought us a green horizon, a midsummer night’s dream of hope, renewal and future plans… accompanied by Jackie’s handmade fruit mince tarts of course….
A time to celebrate the festive season and the coming New Year…..
New starts, resolutions, and letting go the old….
I hear the drums echoing tonight But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation She’s coming in, 12:30 flight The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation I stopped an old man along the way Hoping to find some old forgotten words or ancient melodies He turned to me as if to say “Hurry boy, it’s waiting there for you”It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do I bless the rains down in Africa Gonna take some time to do the things we never had (ooh, ooh)The wild dogs cry out in the night As they grow restless, longing for some solitary company I know that I must do what’s right As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti I seek to cure what’s deep inside, frightened of this thing that I’ve becomeIt’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do I bless the rains down in Africa Gonna take some time to do the things we never had (ooh, ooh)Hurry boy, she’s waiting there for youIt’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do I bless the rains down in Africa I bless the rains down in Africa (I bless the rain) I bless the rains down in Africa I bless the rains down in Africa I bless the rains down in Africa (Gonna take the time) Gonna take some time to do the things we never had (ooh, ooh)
Sketch for Survival is a global art initiative in aid of conservation.
I am thrilled to be a part if it, with my sketches of African wild dogs, Lycaon pictus- an endangered predator which nevertheless is doing well in Zimbabwe within the Save valley Conservancy , Malilangwe and Gonarezhou National Park, plus the other wilderness reserves of Mana, Hwange and Matusadona, in Zimbabwe. African Wildlife Conservation Fund and Painted Dog Conservation do an essential and efficient job within Zimbabwe, of monitoring, intervention snd education outreach for these charismatic wild dogs (aka Painted Wolves, Painted Dogs)
My sketches ”Lycaon pictus I and II”, Monotype, acrylic on paper, each A2 size (420 x 594 mm), will be a part of small capsule collection of 26 26minute sketches that gets displayed at campaign events, as well as the main exhibition in the OXO Gallery in London.
Although the 26 minutes highlights the fact that an elephant is killed every 26 minutes – particularly topical because of their recent reclassification on the IUCN Red List, as many endangered species as possible are represented within the 26 sketches. For the first time we have two weeks at the OXO Gallery in London, together with a virtual tour being made of it once hung so everybody can see it whether they visit or not.
The collection celebrates the beauty and colour of the natural world while also raising awareness about the threats facing it, including those posed by human activity. Original artworks, from oils and watercolours to sketches and street art, feature endangered species and at-risk wild spaces. All artwork donated to Sketch for Survival is available to purchase either through our online fundraising auction in November or in our Affordable Art Gallery. ALL PROCEEDS support our projects.
We organise a number of creative initiatives to highlight the threats facing iconic species and their habitats, while also raising vital funds to help protect them.
We’ve found art and photography to be incredibly effective vehicles for communicating about tough topics ranging from illegal wildlife crime to climate change.
When someone visits one of our exhibitions and learns that every single species or wild space pictured is threatened, and why – usually down to human activity – it has considerable impact.
A central theme of Sketch for Survival is that time is running out. The world must take action to avoid catastrophic consequences. To amplify this message our Sketch for Survival collection includes 26-minute sketches.
In stark contrast to time-consuming, complex studio artworks, the raw beauty of a sketch provides an important visual cue: reminding us that we have limited time to get the job done. Our sketches also remind us of the shocking statistic at the heart of our campaign:
In the wild, an African elephant is lost every 26 minutes on average due to poaching.
This year’s sketch collection includes artwork kindly donated by professional artists and celebrity supporters including Karen Laurence Rowe, Lin Barrie, Jonathan Truss, Alison Nicholls, David Rankin, Hazel Sloan, Levison Wood, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Stephen Fry.
The Sketch for Survival Exhibition Collection is auctioned on 28 November this year following our exhibition tour which includes gallery@oxo on London’s South Bank. ALL PROCEEDS from the sale of art support 21 projects.
I am thrilled! A print of the artwork I donated to Sketch for Survival 2021 is on display at COP26 , in the VIP Lounge Area!
Explorers Against Extinction was selected as one of only 15 organisations worldwide allowed to display in the Blue zone of COP26. Its a huge honour to be part of representing Explorers Against Extinction projects at such a vital event – proof that by coming together for ecosystem and climate campaigns, we can have a collective voice on the biggest stage.
The COP26 VIP lounge display features 5 A0 prints of artworks from this year’s collection.
Along with other invited artists, I was working towards paintings and an installation idea with Helen for the “Freedom” exhibition that she and Derek had planned in September with the support of the Greek Embassy. That exhibition will go ahead, despite the tragic passing of Helen and Derek from our lives, and is an affirmation of her and Derek’s vision for Gallery Delta and a celebration of their artistic legacy…
Foundation for Art and the Humanities
The Board of Trustees and the Gallery Delta Community extend their most sincere condolences to the Lieros and Huggins families, on the passing away of Helen Lieros; loving wife to Derek, Artist, Mentor, Teacher, and Co-Founder of the Gallery Delta. Helen was an inspiration to a great many people, and has been a central pillar within Zimbabwean Visual Arts for over five decades.
Her work is held in the Permanent Collection of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, the Cabinet des Estamps and Centre de la Gravure, Geneva and the Museum of African Arts, Paris, among many others. She was the first recipient of the President’s Award of Honour at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (1990), and the recipient of a National Arts Merit Award. It is perhaps her murals of the Greek Orthodox Church in Maputo that best represent her life and career. A work that transcends cultural, religious, nationalistic and artistic barriers. A work that celebrates both the tragedy and triumph of humanity, that expresses vividly, the artist’s zeal for life, passion for the arts and her great faith.
Through the foundation of the Gallery Delta, and her work as a teacher, she has impacted the lives of hundreds of people. For some, it has been an understanding and appreciation of the visual arts, for others the discovery of unseen creativity, and others still, the understanding of what it means to be a great teacher in the fullest sense of the word; to have belief in the people around you. She has been both nurturing and influential in the careers of many of Zimbabwe’s most prominent artists, some who have begun their careers at Gallery Delta, and who in some way, will carry forwards her legacy.
We will miss Helen’s passion, energy and force of life more than can be written. She leaves both an impact and a considerable void at this time. Her contribution to the arts will be forever cemented in the Zimbabwean story.
Foundation for Art and the Humanities
The Board of Trustees and the Gallery Delta Community extend their most sincere condolences to the Huggins and Lieros families, on the passing away of Derek Huggins; loving husband to Helen Lieros, brother to Mary and David. Derek was the Co-Founder of the Gallery Delta and instrumental within the artistic community since the 1970s. His contribution to the arts is immeasurable.Derek is best known for his role of founding and running the Gallery Delta, first at Little Chelsea on Robert Mugabe Road (1975-1991), then at Robert Paul’s Old House, 110 Livingstone Ave, Harare (1991 – 2021). He has been integral in the seminal moments of of some of Zimbabwe’s most well-known artists, and during the long story of Gallery Delta, maintained professional relationships with some of the beacons of Zimbabwean art; Arthur Azvedo, Cosmos Shiridzinomwa, Helen Leiros, Luis Meques, Masimba Hwati and Virginia Chihota, amidst others.Derek’s writing was included in various publications during the 2000s. His own book, a collection of short stories entitled Stained Earth was published in 2004. He authored the extraordinary book Eleni Lierou/Helen Lieros mural paintings: the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel at Maputo, Mozambique, 1996-2000 (2015) with contributions from Jean Luc Duval and Anna Lazou. It is characteristic of Derek, that his efforts were so often directed towards illuminating Helen’s work.Derek was affectionately known around the Gallery as Sekuru. His relationship with his friends and colleagues was personal and caring, he was a man of gentle humour, unparalleled compassion and kindness. He gave of himself entirely, to the arts and more significantly, to the artist; to none more than his beloved wife, Helen. Integrity, honesty and humility are seldom seen as visibly as they were in Derek. We have lost one of the righteous men of the world, but his example to us lives on, as does his legacy to the Visual Arts of Zimbabwe.
National Gallery Zimbabwe Tribute to Helen:
The Board of Trustees of the National Gallery of Zimbawe, the Directorate and Staff, and the Friends of the Gallery, extend their condolences to the Lieros and Huggins Families; the Board of Trustees of the Gallery Delta Foundation for Art and Humanities, and the Visual Art Industry, upon the loss of an icon.
Sisi Helen, as she was affectionately known, 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.
From her co-founding of the Circle Art Group in reaction to Frank McEwen’s monolithic curation at the National Gallery of Rhodesia; Lieros was evocative in taking Art across cultures and making it accessible to the general population; her poignant murals appearing in the Greek Orthodox Cathedrals of Harare and Maputo; the Social Security Centre and Hurudza House in Harare and many a mural all over the world. The National Gallery houses numerous works from Lieros in its Permanent Collection, and has over the years had the pleasure of the patronage of one of its most beloved Friends in Sisi Helen.
Lieros’ death leaves the Art fraternity in a void.
May Her Soul Rest in Eternal Peace.
Tafadzwa Gwetai tribute to Derek:
Our beloved Sekuru Huggins,
A firm and strong minded Sekuru,
I recall his typewriter clicking away and we would know Sekuru was in his office,
Sekuru was strict in his own way but Helen was always there to persuade him make him see your thoughts and visions ,
A tough man with a huge loving heart,
Just the way a Sekuru should be,
I will forever be grateful for all the critiques that were so brutally honest,
Sekuru Huggins and Helen possessed an honesty that came from a place of love and pure belief in us as artists.
Honesty like that is hard to find.
Together they came into our lives,
And together they left….
Her loss is devastating, shattering, but we take such comfort from the fact that her inspiration and artistic legacy will live on stronger and stronger -fly high dear Helen
Art for Arts Sake a video documenting the story of gallery delta:
Fried Lutz (late)
1974 epiphany being a policeman detective- he turned to god and by 1975 he established an alleyway gallery in downtown harare… art cafe restaurant jazz music atrium
Derek Joined the national arts foundation and so was able to keep the gallery going as a non profit
… created art making, collage, making her own paints
Thakor Patel …
The bush war was Tough times -he worked as a medic and art was therapy for him
1991 Manica road venue was sold…
Robert Paul (died1980) and his house (110 david Livingston), was found to be the new venue for Gallery Delta, through Colette Wiles, his daughter
1991 gallery Delta reinvented itself ! ..by opening with an exhibition of landscapes by Robert Paul!
the Gallery magazine was established 1994-2002
Reflected contemporary Zimbabwean art
Hivos supported the magazine
1990s strong young artists grew from the bat art workshop
So many died young….
the Munich exhibition were successful but difficult due to economy and inflation but 2009 helped the logistics of exporting more than 200 artworks from over 26 artists!
Historically the gallery does not do pretty art, easy art…
Derek says “we are in a sense a poor gallery of poor artists but we survive!
Helen says: “but rich in colour and rich in spirit”!
Helen talks about how “I want the gallery to keep on living! It’s hard…it’s very hard you have to also give new ideas new perspectives a fresh outlook … never give up…”
After 49 years, Derek and Helen established Foundation for Art and the Humanities – the Assets of the gallery were given into a trust.
Derel and Helen stood and promoted the arts steadfastly holding essential qualities and arts very dear to their hearts-
In the video, Fried says- the gallery, the foundation shows “enormous energy and staying power”…
“If it managed to sail through the storms …then I think it has .. energy to go into the future”
What an apt song that is for reflecting the joy and hope of life; flowers, friends, birds and gardens…..,
Spring and Summer in Zimbabwe are upon us…
I am feeling so very deeply the loss, the absence in our garden, of our father, our gramps our great grandfather, Arthur Barrie …. He lived with us and was truly our ‘constant gardener’. From babyhood he thought us to nurture, to praise and to notice all living growing things, all seasons ….
What a roller coaster few months since my dear dads 90th birthday party at Mulberry Restaurant. We have suddenly lost him- he passed away peacefully in our arms at home in his bed. I, my daughter Kelli, and my Sisi Clare (sister-in-law) were with Dad as he passed away, and we remembered with him, reminisced with him and reminded him with joy of what a legacy he has left all of us family and all of his friends…
…. A legacy of love for his neighbours and family, a joy in walking, in art, a passion for owls and all birds, for bush, sunrises, growing gardens, moonphases and flowers!
Dad’s hand painted cards and calendars featuring trees and spotted eagle owls were treasured by all of us…
Dad will be in every flower I paint, every seed I nurture and every rock I touch ….
My release from sadness is in waking up to birdsong, painting flowers, painting gramp’s flowers, painting friends flowers…
Painting the garden and flowers around me is my balm, my joy in the midst of grief…
Gardening, watering and wandering Dad’s wonderful spaces gives me purpose…
The joy of gardens is in sharing special plants with friends and family- growing gifts…
Painting the multitudinous flowers is my therapy-
The full painting nestles beneath the white petunias that it features…
We plan a memorial morning tea for Dad on Thursday 7th October -10am till 12 noon at Mulberry Restaurant, BB Club, Borrowdale Brooke Estate.
The memorial for Gramps will be a bit different. I would like to ask all to bring their favourite herb, succulent or other plant in a sleeve or a pot and place it on a communal table, from which everyone can then choose someone else’s plant , taking away their new chosen plant to nurture in their own gardens in happy memory of dad.
Good friends and family, wide open spaces, bird song, and flowers to honour the legacy of love for nature, birds and gardens that dad left us all with.
Dad was not a purist gardener- he made good compost, sowed his seeds carefully and with love, and gave a multitude of different beloved plants the chance to spring fresh from the earth and compete gaily with each other for his admiration and attention!
When I came to Harare to be with my dad as he became ill, those few frighteningly short, yet astonishingly long weeks ago, little knowing the desperate turn things would take, I was able to drop some leadwood installation poles plus paintings at Gallery Delta hours before the sudden loss of my Dad in my arms, and hours before the creeping Covid caught me as well, put me into quarantine and laid me flat in my daughter Kelli’s arms….
Amidst all the grief of losing our dad, there followed a few “on-the-edge” days when physically I felt very down, and my lovely doctor Cathy Chidoori had an ambulance on speed dial with her finger poised, (!)…but that worry soon passed and my breathing never quite got to a dangerous point. Kelli’s and Cathy’s care of me prevailed and Kelli and I have both actually valued the mandatory isolation in our own quiet garden space together… time to grieve, to cry, laugh, remember….
I am indeed feeling empowered, liberated, to create from the intense memories and joy all around me in this harare garden.
Dad loved this head-height scarlet red begonia variety… called it “Painted Toenails” and said that the toenails belonged to naughty angels who had been barred from heaven because of their scarlet nails!
I am gardening daily as well as painting, doing seed collections, propagating cuttings, sowing Dads packets of collected seeds as the season changes and the strong August winds blow leaves and flower petals around my paintings and toss my paint and flowers artistically onto the concrete Verandah floor!
Our ‘Constant Gardener’ helpmate, Biggie, who was Dad’s true friend, a smiling and able companion in helping dad to create the garden that we love, tells me that the delightful Shona name for these particular fierce August winds is “Nyamavuvu”…
Biggie has become the ‘constant gardener’ and sieves fine homemade compost gently over the three types of zinnia seeds we have just scattered…
Dad’s garden tip: Clever use of a water bath in a wheelbarrow soaks the seeds from the base up so that water droplets don’t displace the delicate layers of seeds before they are able to germinate …
And a few weeks later- three types of seeds successfully begin new life… dad would approve!
One of our installations-a garden totem erected by Dad, is a leadwood fencepost from the cattle era of the Save Valley Conservancy, my other treasured home. This post presides over our fire pit, with offerings nestled in every notch…. Inspiration for my own leadwood post installation to go up at the “Freedom” exhibition at Gallery Delta.
Dad had such an eye for the abstract, the art, of everyday objects … bones on a string installation amidst artfully placed plants… and an old farm lamp burning with childhood memories…
A full moon rising over our palm trees. The full moon always draws me, a full moon = a full cycle of life
Morning has broken…
Flowers and birdsong fill my mind and my garden as I wake each morning and stare out at the promise of a new day- I thrill to the trill of the robin chat after a night of owl calls-
Each day feels like a new start… is a new start
treasures from dads plantings and gifts from friends…
The bunches of sweet peas and ranunculus I am gifted from Steph, grown by Di of Huku Mombe – look at those irises! Hope in a flower….
and my painting of sweet peas and those affirmative irises grows…using charcoal and acrylic …
I have beaten Covid, am growing in strength…much as the stunning irises gifted to dad on his birthday are growing in strength in our garden…
Lying in bed I listen to Dads spotted eagle owls calling most nights, plus the barn owls, wood owls and greater galagos (bush babies) which thrive in the trees and dense gardens of the Brooke. As I imagine the flight of the owls out there in the night, I am excited for the “Freedom” exhibition that Helen Lieros and Derek Huggins were planning before we lost them also to COVID – I am so honoured to be part of that, as the delta trustees are forging ahead, honouring her wishes and setting up the show as her own last wish, her “last show”…. Helen had asked me to participate the last time I saw her in Borrowdale…. And then everything in our worlds turned upside down and we lost her, lost Derek …. So next weekend we’ll have an invited artists meeting at the gallery delta and plan from there. Something strong and good for me to focus on.
Dad, you have given me wings, strong foundations to build on as I sketch and paint the Nike, the Winged Greek Goddess of Victory, such a symbol of hope, freedom, flight….
the energy and love that I feel from our flowers, our installations, the birds and the butterflies in our garden empower me …
The windy season brings sweet colours and flower petals thrown together by the August gusts …
The towering trellis of sweet peas that my father always grew in our sunny garden when I was a child, a wall of colour and bees to look up at, a screen of delicious perfume to wrap yourself in, lies gentle and sweet-scented on my mind…
Summer in Zimbabwe will bring vibrant Msasa colour to our gardens and Miombo woodlands- memories of seasons past, favourite Msasa trees and birding walks with dear dad through one of our favourite bird ‘gardens’ – the Mukuvisi Woodlands …
No matter the season, we LOVE our garden, the memories past and the promise to come…
My art focus for the last few months has been intense on Flight, Fight, Freedom/Fences and Burnt Offerings.
“Burnt Offerings” being a theme which I have been exploring for many months, in collaboration with dear Johnson Zuze, as he and I discussed the idea of a co-exhibition called “Burnt Offerings” after realizing the fact of our mutually experienced house fires, losses and re-inventions….
A Phoenix installation from many years ago which i rescued from my house fire, waiting to be re-invented…
This below is one of the burnt wooden bird sculptures which I rescued from my own house fire, which I gave to Johnson to re-invent…a phoenix rising from the ashes, a ‘burnt offering”… we liked the idea of “re-inventing”, “resurrecting” it…….. much like a phoenix.
Lin, Burnt Bird:
“Freedom” is so inspiring, a natural progression of thought reflecting my feelings of re-invention, taking flight, to combat boundaries real and perceived….
….to combat the trauma of life, fire, physical and emotional battles and constraints….
is an elusive state
not only by physical boundaries
but by your mind…
Freedom and Fences- a theme personified by the iconic deadwoods that were historically the boundaries for cattle paddocks and dips, during the rise of subsidized cattle ranching which took over vast areas of traditional wildlife areas, and before the replacement of these very posts to again make way for wildlife….. boundaries and land use, flux and flow, freedom and restraint……..
Fire is the only threat to these ‘indestructible’ lead woods, a devastating force,
I like to harness the force of fire in making my own charcoal for sketches….
Painting Shells, Fire, Painting Water, are elemental satisfactions for me…
Lin Barrie, “Water…”, acrylic on canvas, 120 x 180 cm
Lin Barrie, “Fire…”, acrylic on canvas , 120 x 180 cm,
the elemental power of fire will always draw me……….
Lin Barrie, What I Saw in the Fire, quartet,acrylic on stretched canvas-each 30 x 30 cm
and I ruminate on the force of fire, as a cleansing and as a destructor…
I have draped a large canvas, reminiscent of what I see when I stare into fire, into flames, whereupon I take flight or contemplate fight……..
Lin Barrie, Fire; Fight or Flight?, acrylic on draped canvas Height 184 cm Width 275 cm Width to point 435 cm
The “Winged Victory”, that stunning hellenic statue of Nike, Goddess of Victory, is the epitome of freedom, of rising to victory….
Winged Victory, Nike I, and II, are acrylic and charcoal on stretched canvas, each 42 x 30 cm (A3)
Taking flight, my abstraction of that universal Swoosh symbol, the Nike flash, Winged Victory, Nike, a diptych, is acrylic on stretched canvas, each 42 x 30 cm …… is it a bird in flight or a swoosh?! …..either way it is a symbol of FREEDOM!
Born of Fire, my painting “Winged Victory” is growing…acrylic/charcoal on stretched canvas 4 x 3 feet….
Winged Victory; Beyond Beyonce, will be an acrylic/charcoal/collage installation on stretched/draped canvas inspired by the marks of sparks and fire on canvas, creativity and creation… Size 4 x 3 feet plus ‘wings’
The Winged Victory of Samothrace is a Greek statue of the goddess Nike, who symbolized victory in battle for the sea-faring Greeks, dating from the 2nd century, BC.
In the video, Beyoncé appears and dances in front of the statue in garb that mimics the structure of the angelic wings and coverings of the statue;
Wings, Flight, Fire, Freedom ……
These themes that are so empowering for me are growing in my paintings and draped canvas works ….such as this nearly completed piece ….
Lin Barrie, “Winged Victory, Beyond Beyoncé” mixed media and draped canvas collage, approx 6 x 6 feet:
Here is a detail from her wings- the sparks and trails of fire in my work are reflective of the trials of life we all face…. trial by fire…
Lin Barrie, “Nike Freedom I”.. the Winged Goddess of Victory, mixed media on loose canvas, 141 x86 cm
Nike, the hellenic winged goddess of victory, inspires me – remembering Helen Lieros of Gallery Delta, celebrating the power of art and attitude in rising above the travails of this world to meet the challenges of life, and death….
Lin Barrie, “Nike Freedom II”.. the Winged Goddess of Victory, mixed media on loose canvas, 141 x86 cm
Nike sportswear aptly took their name from this energetic goddess, and their swoosh symbol is, to me, a potent symbol of flight, positive movement
and this is the ‘secret’ swoosh I have added to my two paintings -for those who peer closely, those who are observant! …
Thinking Nike swoosh and freedom, flight, here is my small diptych called “Nike, Winged Victory”, mixed media on stretched canvas, each panel being 42 x30 cm… seen here against the magnificent old wooden floors of the Gallery Delta in Harare, prior to the opening of the “Freedom” exhibition that Helen was determined to mount ..
..listen to music from such as Hope Masike on Mbira, watch art memories from the past, feel the hopes for the future…..
Zimbabwe has lost Helen Lieros…
Artist of Africa, Artist of Zimbabwe…
Zimbabwe has also lost Derek Huggins….
Derek Huggins, life force and creator of Gallery Delta, supporter of the Arts and Humanities
Zimbabwe, and the whole art world, has lost two iconic people who will be deeply missed but always so fondly remembered.
At this tragically sad time I hold the memories of Derek’s deep humanity and Helen’s huge creative force close to my heart, from my house in the bush in Zimbabwe.
Surrounded by the indigenous aloes and dramatic skies of our beloved Zimbabwe, as I sit in my wilderness home, I will ruminate and celebrate the passionate, caring and deeply colourful life that was theirs …
All my thoughts are with the Lieros and Huggins families, their dear friends and closest associates, and all of my fellow artists who mourn with me.
Helen and Derek, founders of Gallery Delta and icons of the arts in Zimbabwe and far far beyond, you were, and are, universally loved.
May your legacies live on in all our artistic and humanitarian endeavours.
Fly high dear friends.
I dedicate this painting to your memory, Helen.
“Emergence” is a painting that I worked on a few months ago- my personal reflection on the energizing chats and art meetings we have had in the last year, dear Helen…..
You helped me to feel that I was emerging, coming out and re-inventing my self, finding myself, with a renewed and sound basis for my art practice.
You inspired me.
You still inspire me.
You have helped me to a new-found feeling of ‘flying high’ …
I have always collected fallen feathers, and have been drawing feathers, birds, winged forms and flight obsessively …..
I have just realized how influenced I have been in my subconscious by Nike, the winged Greek Goddess of Victory. She has been gentle in the back of my mind all these years and has resurfaced with a vengeance!
Almost like emerging from a cocoon, my mind embraces the thought of wings, feathers, flight….
A wooden vulture sculpture by the talented Zimbabwean Zata Brothers presides over my workspace, informing my subconscious, watchfully influencing my mark making….
The concept grows, as I create mono prints which seem to take on their own persona, their own life, unfolding their wings, re-inventing themselves and arising from the ashes, emerging from the trials of life….
Immortalised in the marble sculpture found on the island of Samothrace, my intense focus now rests on this marble statue portraying Nike the goddess, called “Winged Victory” and portraying a woman in delicate yet powerful flowing robes, wings outstretched as if just landing, or just taking off…
Since learning about her in Art History classes at Art College, years and years ago, I have been conscious of her powerful presence, although I have never seen her in real life, as she stands in the Louvre…one day I will get to see her reality!
She epitomizes the concept of Flight and Freedom in my mind, (and Fight as well… she seems not shy of gaining Victory, a powerful force!)
To persevere, re-invent oneself, take flight against all odds, is my mantra.
I am working towards my personal theme, “Burnt Offerings”, in collaboration with friend and talented fellow Zimbabwean artist, Johnson Zuze. Wire artist and creator of fantastic beasts from found objects, Johnson’s re-cycled art is at once intricate and bold, at once aesthetically pleasing and socially cutting……
He himself has always been fascinated by the theme of the phoenix myth, wings, flight, birds and I am the proud owner of this delightful bird re-created by him for me after the original got damaged in my house fire…..read more on that here
Some of my saved ‘Burnt Offerings” are – you guessed it, (returning always to my theme of flight), wooden bird sculptures!
Charred, scarred and damaged but with strong spirit still, waiting to be re-invented…. here is one of my treasured burnt birds that I have passed on to Johnson, for him to raise from the ashes… a phoenix or a Nike winged goddess in the making….
Plus I am planning on submitting work for an exhibition called “Freedom” at The Gallery Delta later this year and Nike is so inspiring for me… the theme of Freedom is epitomized in her outspread wings.
Helen Lieros of Gallery Delta wished a commemoration of 200 years of freedom from Turkish rule in Greece, and Nike the winged goddess celebrates that spirit. She seems to echo Helen and Derek’s strong determination to succeed in nurturing the Arts and the Humanities as they do.
Many many sketches I have done ….
and am working into larger paintings…
freedom is flight in my mind- and I sketch, then work on the folds and drapes of an installation canvas, wings taking flight…
hours of stitchng and painting create layers of fire/spark marks and folds of freedom!
and the wings unfold, take the colours of fire
This draped canvas installation (collage?!) will take me weeks and weeks to complete-watch this space!
Another very large painting, called “Emergence”, which was painted before I began sketching the ”Winged Victory”, echoes her mood…
And a theme of natural world shapes, strelitzias and fire is translating into Winged Victory on this large canvas…
How special to have you all, dear family and friends, together in person and together “online”!!…
in this wonderful place called Gonarezhou – Sacred Place of Elephants…
for a few days of surprise celebrations for Clives 70th birthday…
The Chilojo Cliffs, viewed from the picnic site, are a fitting backdrop to the most special occasions…
and always inspiration for my art..plus the perfect place to gather with friends…..
A few days of glorious vistas and surprises roll out….
Clive cutting the first of his cakes at Chilojo Picnic Site-a carrot cake created by dear friend Bronwen…
Our daughter Kelli presides over the goodies and gift table at Chilojo!
Painted Wolf Wines, Jeremy Emma and Amanda, sadly could not be with us at the last , but gifted us some bottles of their delicious wine for the day.
So many friends from all over the world and within Zimbabwe who wanted to come, had indeed already booked to come, have failed to do so for various covid and logistical reasons.
Best wishes and so much love come to you, Clive, from Texas to Cape Town, London to Paarl, Kenya to Hoedspruit !
Childhood friend Alan Sparrow spends quiet time with Clive back at our bush house in Save valley Conservanvy, after the camping trip
This sculpture, given to Clive by Stu and Sue Danks of Stone Dynamics Gallery, sums up the deep sense of family and friendship we all enjoy, titled “Support System”
On the day, many many friends here in Zimbabwe , too numerous to mention in this short speech, who can not be with us, have sent Clive messages, to add to his memory book.
My gift to Clive is a magnificent Rhino sculpture by dear friend Wayne Stutchbury…
My list of thanks to everyone who has made this celebration possible is lengthy- so I will have to be brief and mention just a few of the many who have helped plan this surprise:
Gonarezhou National Park, (GCT), Hugo and Elsabe Van Der Westhuizen and Mr Mpofu and staff for your vision, conservation ethics and enthusiasm, (plus efficient bookings and logistics- for bundles of firewood, tables and pots donated for the party).
Hugo’s words to guests on the day were a revelation to many- the ongoing efforts and planning that have resulted in the iconic reintroduction of black rhinos to gonarezhou were enthralling for us all to understand.
Gorgeous Massasanya Dam was one of the venues for guests to camp at, in preparation for Clive’s surprises…
Thanks to Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge who hosted happy guests at gorgeous Chilo lodge on the Save River … in preparation for the event.
Chilo brought our dear friends and precious staff through the stunning wilderness of Gonarezhou National Park, on Clive’s special day..
The Chilo team and John Feleni of the Jamanda Conservation Area had special sightings, viewing lions and African wild dogs en route, to join us at Chipinda with truckfuls of food, cake and love!
wild dogs were seen on the banks of the Runde and Save River- a delight…
Dear Bonani and head chef Peter Chauke pulled the chilo team together through thick and thin to make this day a success.
Chef Susie’s cake:
Fun to cut and a delight to eat!
Thanks to Malilangwe and the people of Malilangwe who have always been trusted friends and dear neighbours to Clive, who roamed those lone star/ Malilangwe hills throughout his childhood.
Mark Saunders honours Clive with his words ..
And a great framed photo gifted from Mark Saunders- memories of camping trips with Clive at mahove camp, hosted by Chilo Gorge
Thanks to Save Valley Conservancy, beloved home to our family, thanks to them for their consistent support and friendship through the many years they have been established.
Thanks to Glenn and Judy and our grandchildren Jade And Rayne and to our daughter Kelli for their unending support and love for Clive
Thanks to All other friends and family too numerous to list but all who have contributed to the success of today…you are all deeply loved and appreciated
Rowan Martin came from afar on dodgy tyres, to play the bagpipes for Clive…
As did Sean Davy, with his beloved Mum Mo, and his sweet “clan” of girls, to celebrate and play “Happy Birthday” on his bagpipes…
He played below those atmospheric Chiwonga Hills, a wonderful moody setting…
Friends young and old made memories for a lifetime…
Much food was eaten around many campfires, lots of fun…and leftover sadza with relish tasted even better straight out the pots, reheated the night after the party….
This area of the South East lowveld of Zimbabwe has forever been a haven for Clive, way before it was designated as a National Park.
Clive’s earliest childhood memories are of family fishing expeditions down this very Runde River behind us.
Clive says of his childhood;:
“Our anticipation was high at the outset of these family trips, and when we would finally reach the range of these hills known as the Chiwongas, we children, bouncing about in the back of our old truck, would be in an agony of delight, knowing that we had nearly arrived at our fishing grounds!
70 years later here is Clive setting up a braai at the tented camp, below these same hills….
Early one morning here at the tented camp, Clive and I rose to the orchestra of Giant Eagle owls and pearl spotted owelets going to bed and ground hornbills, Spurfowl and guinea fowl waking up.
Loud, snorting bloats of hippos serenaded us as drank our Zimbabwean coffee and watched the light dawn behind these same Chiwongas.
Clive later said to me that it reminded him of the verse in David: “I will lift up my eyes to the hills from whence comes my power”
Clive’s whole life, his whole power, has been dedicated to wilderness and community conservation here in the South East Lowveld. Clive has seen communities translocated to make way for wildlife, he has seen wildlife translocated to make way for cattle, and again he has seen cattle translocated to make way for wildlife! Clive has seen rhino go extinct twice in his lifetime here in the Gonarezhou. It seems fitting that we celebrate his birthday right here at Chipinda Pools In the heart of the new rhino protection zone in Gonarezhou, as rhino reintroductions from Malilangwe, Bubye and Save Valley Conservancy are taking place
Thank you all for helping to make this surprise for Clive such a success!