About Helena Hugo | Art.co.za | Art in South Africa
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About The Artist

Artist Photo

"Hugo's realistic accuracy transcends conventional notions of realism not so much because of her technical ability, but because her paintings and drawings of people somehow capture the essence of each particular subject and the very essence of what it is to be human." - Peter Machen.

Helena Hugo is essentially a portrait artist who prefers to portray those individuals who are often overlooked or taken for granted. Her subject matter ranges from portraits of South African Labourers to, more recently, studying the effects which the age old pseudo science called physiognomy still has on our society.

In her "working portraits" Hugo aimed to bring to the viewer’s attention the significance of every job and the role it plays in a society presenting the workers of our country to the viewer as individuals with reconsidered status and importance. In her more recent portraits, she asks the question: In what measure do we still let ourselves be influenced today by preconceived ideas laid down by a set of society bound rules for measuring appearance – a system that may actually determine our opinions of people?

Artist CV

Born 6 January 1975, Roodepoort, South Africa

Tertiary Education:

  • 1996: BAFA Pretoria University

    Work in Corporate Collections:

    University of Johannesburg, J A Meyer Attorneys, Standard Chartered Bank London, Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, Ukwazi Mining Group, Richard Spoor Attorney, UNISA, Blend Property Group, Johanesburg Eye Hospital, Vulisango Holdings.

    Work in Private Collections:

    South Africa, Germany, Singapore, Australia, Great Britain, United States of America, Holland, Canada, Italy, France

    Acknowledgements :

    • 2005 One of 50 selected portraits. BP Portrait awards, National Portrait gallery, London.
    • 2007 Top ten. Eukurhuleni fine arts award, Kempton Park/Tembisa.
    • 2007 Finalist. Momentum/Topbilling lifestyle awards.
    • 2008 Obtains Project Funding from the National Arts Council.
    • 2009 3rd place in the Art Interview 16th International Online Artist Competition.
    • 2011 Festival Artist, ABSA KKNK
    • 2012 One of four recipients of the Bettie Cilliers-Barnard Residency Award at the Cité International des Arts, Paris
    • 2013 Selected as one of the top 40 artist for the SPI National Portrait Award

    List of Exhibitions:

    2015:

  • Solo exhibition "Grass People", Alliance Francaise, Johannesburg

    2013:

  • Solo exhibition "Surface", Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfontein
  • Solo exhibitiion "Surface", North- West University gallery, Potchefstroom
  • "Tom Waits for no man". UJ Art Gallery, Johannesburg
  • Re- envisioning the Anglo-Boer War, Johannes Stegmann gallery, Bloemfontein
  • "Big enough to be small", William Humphreys Gallery, Kimberley
  • "Jeunes Artistes d'Afrique du Sud", Vivienne Art Galerie, Paris
  • "SPI National Portrait awards exhibition, Rust en Vrede Gallery, Durbanville
  • "SPI National Portrait awards exhibition, UJ Art Gallery, Johannesburg
  • "SPI National Portrait awards exhihibition, Stephan Welz & Co at the Alphen Estate in Constantia
  • "Interrupted", UJ Gallery, Johannesburg
  • "Summer exhibition 45, Strydom Gallery, George

    2012:

  • "This Place/Displace", University of Johannesburg
  • "Rendezvous Focus Painting", UCT Michaelis School of Fine Art
  • "Scene", Carol Lee Fine Art, Johannesburg
  • "Rendezvous Focus Painting", Oliewenhuis, Art Museum, Bloemfontein
  • Opening exhibition, Fient Lifestyle Gallery, Pretoria
  • "Circles, Cycles and Seasons", Strydom Gallery, 79 Market Street,George
  • "Engage" - World Art Day Exhibition, Association of Arts, 173 Mackie Street, Pretoria
  • "Rendezvous Focus Painting", University of Johannesburg
  • "Altered Pieces", Strydom Gallery, 79 Market Street,George

    2011:

  • Solo exhibition, "Portret", Klein Karoo Kunste Fees, Oudsthoorn
  • "Skilder met woorde II", Klein Karoo Kunste Fees, Oudsthoorn
  • "Recent Acquisitions Art Exhibition", UNISA, Pretoria
  • "Altered Pieces" Thompson Gallery, Johannesburg, Aardklop National Arts Festival, Potchefstroom
  • "Alchemy", Carol Lee Fine Art, Johannesburg
  • "Rendezvous  Focus Painting", Aardklop National Arts Festival, Potchefstroom
  • "Self Portrait 2011", Rust-en-Vrede Gallery, Durbanville
  • "Transvaalse Verhalen, Zuid-Afrikahuis, Amsterdam
  • "Affordable Art Fair, Amsterdam
  • "43rd Summer Exhibition, Strydom Gallery, George
  • "Poetry into Imagery", St Lorient Fashion and Art, Pretoria

    2010:

  • "Skilder met woorde II" Aardklop Arts Festival, Potchefstroom
  • "Woman at Work", The Gallery at Duncan Yard, Pretoria
  • "Art Alive" Waterkloof Preparatory School, Pretoria
  • "Source", Carol Lee Fine Art, Johannesburg
  • "42nd Summer Exhibition", Strydom gallery, George
  • "Oppitafel 20(10)", Artspace, Johannesburg

    2009:

  • St Sebastian, Art Association, Pretoria
  • Justified Jotting, Magpie, Pretoria
  • Easter exhibition, Tina Skukan Gallery, Pretoria

    2008:

  • Solo exhibition , "KZN@Work", KZNSA Gallery, Durban
  • Centenary exhibition, University of Pretoria
  • A Thin Line, Platform on 18th, Pretoria
  • Mid year Christmas show, Gordart gallery, Johannesburg
  • Reflect Refuel, Art Association, Pretoria
  • Art Alive Waterkloof Preparatory School, Pretoria
  • Catpals Art Auction Art Association, Pretoria

    2007 Group exhibitions

  • "Art Alive" Waterkloof Preparatory School
  • Opening exhibition, The Secret gallery, Pretoria
  • "Hot chocolate", Platform on 18th, Pretoria
  • Eukurhuleni fine arts award, Kempton Park/Tembisa
  • "Evidence", Carol Lee Fine Art, Johannesburg
  • "Woman’s exhibition", The Secret Gallery, Pretoria
  • Group exhibition, Magpie, Pretoria

    2006 Group exhibitions

  • "Mystery portrait postcards", National Portrait Gallery, London
  • Opening exhibition, Platform on 18th, Pretoria
  • "Woman" Carol lee Fine Art, Johannesburg
  • "Positive" Sun City
  • "Art Alive" Waterkloof Preparatory School
  • "Current" Carol Lee Fine Art
  • "Sasol New Signatures" Pretoria Art Museum
  • Group exhibition, Tina Skukan Gallery

    2005 Group exhibitions

  • The Art Room. Umhlanga Rocks
  • "Catpals art auction" Art Association, Pretoria
  • "Sasol New Signatures" Pretoria Art Museum
  • BP Portrait Award 2005, National Portrait Gallery, London. Travel to Sunderland Museum, Winter Gardens and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh.
  • "Art Alive" Waterkloof Preparatory School, Pretoria
  • Fine Arts Awards, Kempton Park/Tembisa
  • "Artists from Pretoria" Carol Lee Fine Art, Johannesburg
  • "Far and Wide" ABSA Gallery, Johannesburg
  • "Sale 30 x 30", US Art Gallery, Stellenbosch

    2004 Group Exhibitions

  • "For the record/Off the record" Gordart @ Thompson gallery, Johannesburg; Aardklop, Potchefstroom
  • "10 x 10cm", Gordart @ Thompson gallery
  • "Woman's day Exhibition", Rust-en vrede Gallery, Durbanville
  • "Catpals Art Auction", Art Association, Pretoria
  • "Christmas Exhibition", Art Association
  • "Sale 30 x 30", US Art Gallery, Stellenbosch
  • "Recent Works", Carol Lee Fine art, Johannesburg

    2003 Group Exhibitions

  • "Repositioning" University of Johannesburg Art Gallery
  • "Herfsverhale" Tina Skukan Gallery, Pretoria
  • Cetshwayo KaMpande National Portrait Competition.
  • Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg
  • "Art Alive" Waterkloof Preparatory School, Pretoria
  • "Femina 2003" Association of arts, Pretoria
  • Christmas Exhibition. Gordart @ Thompson gallery, Johannesburg

    2002 Joint Exhibition

  • "Encaged" with Nicky Leigh. University of Johannesburg Art Gallery

    2002 Group Exhibitions

  • Drawing Exhibition with old students of Diane Victor. Association of Arts, Pretoria
  • "Remembering the Cross" Tina Skukan Gallery, Pretoria
  • "Twenty/Two" Association of Arts, Pretoria
  • "Arcadia" Carfax, Johannesburg
  • Fine Arts Awards, Kempton Park/Tembisa
  • "Blind Auction" Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg

    2001 Joint Exhibition

  • Joint Slovak - South African Exhibition with Erica Jacubcínová. Tina Skukan Art Gallery, Pretoria

    2001 Group Exhibitions

  • "3/3" Open Window Art Gallery, Pretoria
  • Unframed works. Tina Skukan Art Gallery, Pretoria
  • "Art Alive" Waterkloof Preparatory School, Pretoria

    2001 Solo Exhibition

  • "Emplastron" Victoria Memorial Hall, Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, Oudtshoorn

    2000 Group Exhibitions

  • Exhibition with Olaf Bishoff and Rentia van der Merwe
  • Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Grahamstown
  • "Art Alive" Waterkloof Preparatory School, Pretoria
  • Fine Arts Awards, Kempton Park/Tembisa

    1999 Group Exhibitions

  • Easter Exhibition. University of Johannesburg Art Gallery
  • Easter Exhibition. Association of Arts, Pretoria
  • "Our World in the Year 2000" Winsor & Newton Fine Arts Competition. Sandton Civic Gallery, Johannesburg
  • Opening Exhibition. Gallery Voss, Pretoria
  • Miniature Exhibition. Gallery Voss, Pretoria

    1997 Group Exhibition

  • Terre Verté, Pretoria

    1997 Solo Exhibition

  • Terre Verté, Pretoria

    1996 Group Exhibitions

  • Final Year Exhibition. Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria
  • Fine Arts Awards, Kempton Park/ Tembisa
  • Sasol New Signatures. Pretoria Art Museum
  • "Get Framed" Café Palette, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria

    1995 Group Exhibitions

  • Exhibition and auction of work, sponsored by PPC Cement
  • Newtown Galleries, Johannesburg
  • Sasol New Signatures. Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria
  • Drawing Exhibition with students of Diane Victor
  • Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria


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