Gallery Delta, Harare, Zimbabwe. Group Exhibition opening Saturday 30th October, 2021.
FREEDOM!….transitions and changes….
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”
the video is dedicated to
Derek Huggins and Helen Lieros
and to all
Gallery Delta Artists
past and present
in memory of
Ilo the Pirate
Cologne Saxaphone mafia
The African Arts Trust -a film by Nigel Hulett