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Contemporary nostalgia

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Upper Hutt artist Helen Lenihan, uses mixed media and found objects to produce intricate work that references human emotional responses to the passing of time, or the world around us.

Helen describes her artistic style as ‘contemporary nostalgia’. She often starts with no preconceived visual outcome and lets the work manifest itself through multiple layers of materials.


Class of 51 web

Class of 51 ©20016 Artist: Helen Lenihan.

Materials: Graphite and Charcoal.


A Diploma Creativity & Art Programme Honours student from The Learning Connexion, Helen has been announced as a finalist in the Wellington Regional Art Awards 2016. She is also one of 100 finalists in the Clifton Art Prize Awards 2016 in Wellington.

‘Mr Fox’, her ceramic piece, entered into the Wellington Regional Art Awards, is currently on display at the Expressions Art Gallery in Upper Hutt.


Mr Fox

Mr Fox ©20016 Artist: Helen Lenihan.

Materials: Ceramic.


‘Discontinuity’, her ink on paper work, entered into the Clifton Art Prize Awards, will be on display later this month.



Discontinuity ©2016 Artist: Helen Lenihan.

Materials: Indian Ink on wet Hahnmuhle paper.

Artist statement: “Discontinuity is a zone deep within the earth where the velocity of earthquake waves change radically. It was inspired by the tremors that regularly rock the Wellington Region.”


Prior to studying the Diploma of Creativity & Art programme at The Learning Connexion, Helen worked for the New Zealand Police for 12 years in many roles, most recently as a senior criminal intelligence analyst.

Helen’s artwork is inspired by the relationship between memories, emotion and the passing of time. It also references her years spent working for NZ Police, as a volunteer with Victim Support, and her own life experiences. Some pieces appear as though they are captured fragments of time, recovered memories, or pieces of aging history.

Helen credits the tutors at TLC as encouraging her to persist in her art making, and to keep going, despite disappointment in some of her earlier work. They also helped guide Helen in pinpointing and defining specific subject matter and media that was of interest to her personally.

“If I could offer advice, it would be ‘GO FOR IT – go to TLC, sign up as soon as you can. It's never too late to learn.’”

Next term, at The Learning Connexion, it is Helen’s intent to concentrate on drawing with tutor, Roger Key and 3D ceramic sculpture with tutor, Mel Ford. She will also be busy working on creative concepts, and a series of related ceramic pieces, for next year’s 2017 NZ Art Show which will be held during Queen’s Birthday weekend, in Wellington.

To find out more about The Learning Connexion’s Creativity and Art Diploma programmes call us on 0800 278 769 or request a prospectus.



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