About Helena

"Creativity is unfolding your own truth"  - HELENA VOGELZANG



Sculpted with soul

South African born sculptor Helena Vogelzang graduated from the esteemed NSA - National school of  the Arts Johannesburg . She furthered her studies as a Graphic Designer at the JHB Technikon.  Her distinct artistic talents gaining her recognition, even at a young age. Her inherent entrepreneurial spirit saw her create a successful business called Angelworks which kept her focus for several years, designing and manufacturing specialised holistic candles and related products. In 2001 Helena re-located to Kwa Zulu - Natal where she initially put her energy into the candle business whilst merging back onto the art scene with two solo exhibitions in 2008/9. After her protracted break from sculpting, Helena has returned a more cognisant and intuitive artist.

Inspired by their compassion for fellow man, Helena's latest works explore the persona of selected international icons. Her love of form and texture is apparent in these figurative bronze masterpieces which embody spirit and emotion, leaving a symbolic legacy for the future.

The scale and scope of her creations range from the monumental to the smallest gems of nature. Her body of work continues to include the equine form as well as representations of South Africa's rich wildlife heritage to which she has a deep and abiding affiliation. She has an exceptional ability to achieve strikingly sensitive portraits of both human and animal  studies which are recreated in the timeless medium of investment bronze casting. 



Biography on the Artist

Helena Vogelzang was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and matriculated class of 1982 with distinctions in art for - sculpture, painting, drawing and graphics, from the original Johannesburg school of Art, Ballet, Music, and Drama. Now The National School of Art or NSA 

Furthering her studies at the Johannesburg Technikon, she achieved a National Diploma in Graphic Design in 1985.

After a brief stint as a designer at the Graphic Design firm Collett Dickenson Pearce, her inherent entrepreneurial spirit sought expression and she decided to leave the corporate world to pursue her interests in sculpture. Working at Gillian Bickell Potteries as an assistant and pottery teacher, this afforded her the freedom to undertake works in clay, particularly one off studies in porcelain.

It was at this time that she entered a competition called 'Create an Egg Collection' sponsored by the Egg Board of South Africa, for which she won a merit award in the professional category with her porcelain rendition of a fascinating puzzle of eggs within eggs. 'The Egg' entry being successfully auctioned by Stephen Welz & Co. in association with Sotheby's the prominent auction house, for one of the highest bids at the gala evening, the proceeds of which went to the African Children's Feeding Scheme . This started a trend that has chequered Helena's career to date - "creating artworks that do good work". 

The Everard Read Gallery exhibited the winning entries, effectively introducing Helena to the art scene: The piece was later reproduced into limited edition bronze castings. One of which is in the First Rand Banking Group's prestigious art collection.

In 1988 she was commissioned by Gail Foxcroft, the Springbok equestrian show jumper, to fashion a piece of her favourite horse ' Bye and Bye' as a trophy. This was Helena's first bronze commission marking the beginning of the sculptor's passion for the horse, which launched her into a career involving horses that continued for eight years...

Specializing in equine art, her particular interest was in Thoroughbred racehorses. Using her skills as a graphic designer Helena designed various trophies for the horse racing industry - as well as portraits in bronze of notable racehorses - for their owners. During this 'golden era' of the sport of Kings,  she was commissioned by some of the best-known patrons in the South African racing Industry, Mr and Mrs Beck, Lawrie Jaffie, Bridgette Oppenheimer also  several racing clubs around the country. One of the most comprehensive collections of her trophy designs is on display in the foyer of the Thoroughbred Breeders Association of South Africa in Germiston.

In 1991 and 1992 Helena donated her sculptures of the racehorses 'Aquanaut' and 'Hawaii' to Turffontein Racecourse, who auctioned the artworks, proceeds of which went to children's charity.

Helena has undertaken extensive commissions for various private and corporate individuals. Her body of work covers a diverse range of subject matter including life size pieces, such as portraits of individuals, sensitive renditions of our wildlife heritage and more abstract work on display in public spaces. One such commission came from the German based Schering Pharmaceutical Company who commissioned Helena to create an installation for their South African office, incorporating two sections of the Berlin Wall.

Another of her works on public display is a seated three-quarter-life size figure of Swami Nishalananda, founding father of the Ramakrishna centre in KwaZulu Natal.

A life size bronzed Grey Duiker, a small antelope, that is an historic state symbol of Botswana, is on display there, commissioned by the Government of that country.

She has also been involved in various private, group and gallery exhibitions. Notably: Sotheby's The Egg Board, in association with the Everard Read Gallery 'Create an Egg Collection' on 26th March 1986.

The Natural History Paintings and Sculpture, a group exhibition with prominent artists including internationaly renowned, Raymond Harris-Ching, SA painters David Shepherd and Leigh Voigt and fellow sculptors Dylan Lewis and David Tomlinson to name only a few, which took place in November 1995 at the Everard Read Gallery.

More recently... the impactful Kwazulu Natal group exhibition - Foundryman's Collective in association with De Kraal Gallery in Cape Town.

Attracting rave reviews the highly anticipated and successful consecutive showings in October 2008, 2009, at The Fat Tuesday Gallery in Helena's hometown of Kloof, KZN -  Helena's first solo exhibitions, after a prolonged sabbatical from the art industry. "One of the fascinating things to emerge from this protracted break is this...even though I was not practicing my art, my style and technique evolved, regardless. It seems to have grown and changed with my life experience.

In 2001 Helena settled in KwaZulu Natal from Gauteng. After her long break from the formal art world, Helena began work on the seminal sculpture of her career; she has a great vision for her representation of South Africa's greatest son Nelson Mandela. This sculpture sparked a creative thrust to create a series of very personal artworks indicating that she has returned a more cognisant and intuitive artist. Through the years Helena has realized that making a living is not the same as making a life and this has had a profound effect on the approach she now has to her natural talents, particularly on the subject matter she chooses to create.

Continuing with her commissions for wildlife and all things equine, she has started a very personal project. The 'Modern Icons' series will see Helena creating portraits of people from the past and present that she admires. People who she feels have touched our lives in one way or the other. It is a project to watch and observe, as the artist evolves with her subject matter. Which are chosen seemingly at random, but they emerge from a gut instinct that she has learned to trust, and true to this philosophy, there is a common thread in these new works to which we can all instinctivley relate,  it is a ..."glimmer of the Divine that makes us all shine!" that is the common elusive quality that Helena is striving to capture, in the diversely different characters chosen for this ongoing project...




Self portrait - Terracotta, Class of '82 National School of the Arts, Johannesburg South Africa


Exhibitions over the years...