Glass Woman, Owl House : On Helen Martins, Outsider Artist, South Africa single work   poetry   "Nieu Bethesda. In this desert village"
Issue Details: First known date: 2005 2005
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  • Helen Martins was an outsider artist not fully recognised by the art establishment of South Africa though her stature is now growing. She lived in the religious village of Nieu Bethesda in the South African central desert, and created designs and symbols using everyday items, and later sculptures and statues from concrete and glass. She defied convention by associating, and working with, black Africans. The owl is a dominant motif in her works, as are religion and Boer women, but she derived inspiration from many electic sources. In failing health, at 76, she attempted suicide by swallowing caustic soda, and was taken to hospital but died three days later. (Paraphrased from author's biographical note accompanying the poem.)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y Hecate vol. 31 no. 1 2005 Z1224042 2005 periodical issue 2005 pg. 116-117
Last amended 24 Nov 2005
  • c
    South Africa,
    Southern Africa, Africa,
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