Some Helen Andersen art heads “home”

“Haida Eye”, Oil on shaped canvas, Object height 19 inches, width 24 inches


I have chosen this rather unusual and enigmatic piece from Peter Tatham’s collection to illustrate my entry. A small number of works, including a lithograph, works on paper and canvases will be heading back to B.C. where they were created. In fact, they will be going all the way to the Saanich Penisula, home of Helen’s studio for the last decades of he life. The pieces will be framed for display on Peter’s walls.

We’ve discussed how best to frame it and agree that a shallow box frame of plexiglass or acrylic will protect and show it to good advantage.

The piece is called Haida Eye, titled by the artist on the back. The meaning of the imagery is elusive and everyone can have an interpretation, so here’s mine. The largest object suggests a rattle with a handle to me, and a convex mirror, at the same time. The smaller object puts me in mind of a carved “talking stick”, a ceremonial object that was passed around a circle at gatherings. The holder of the stick “had the floor”, so to speak. I have no guess about the meaning of the overall shape and I may be completely wrong about my other guesses. Perhaps there is something buried in Helen’s writings that will tell us more some day.