DHIRA Anthea Helliwell – statement and cv


My work has always been about transcendence and spiritual connection. Spanning 40 years, it has charted my life long search for identity, truth and peace. Initially I began my painting career with intimate subjective self portraits of my inner emotional and spiritual landscape, using gouache on paper, they always contained a central figure and reflected my search for love and acceptance on the outside and the divine feminine within. Gradually the self portraits became more abstracted, going beyond any stories I believed about myself and began exploring my experience of life at a more cellular level. As I developed a greater contented relationship with myself on the inside, no longer needing anything from the outer experience, I became inspired by the Zen Enso symbol of Enlightenment and the expression of presence by minimal mark making and the use of the non dominant hand.

Aiming to live life more fully in the present moment, the drawing or painting of a line became as much about the process and experience of the making, as it was about the finished piece. Using the non dominant hand allowed for a greater more immediate expression of the moment and by the late 2009 my work ranged from small personal drawings to large gestural abstract paintings.

My drawings became intimate records of my sensory, physical and emotional experience of the present moment. I developed a way of drawing called “Universal Line Drawings” which is based on pulling an imaginary line through the body and recording the experience on paper.

For a time my paintings included both brush and drip techniques on paper, using the simplest of shapes and lines to capture the purity of Now. Concentrating purely on using black on white paper, using charcoal, gouache and ink.

As the desire to be more fully present with my work unfolded, I learnt to meditate or more accurately Ascend, with the Ishayas of The Bright Path. This simple and effortless practice was a life changing experience, bringing a rich experience of peace, joy and contentment into my life, something I had not experienced before. I now currently teach meditation classes and have recently begun to draw again with my non dominant hand. This time no longer needing to draw as a way of healing or understanding myself but more as a way of celebrating and exploring reality from the beautiful presence of NOW.



1994 Manchester Academy of Fine Arts Open Exhibition
1993 Yorkshire & Humberside Arts: Visual Artists Individual Award
1992 Holmfirth Open Art Exhibition
1992 South Yorkshire Open Exhibition

Work Experience 

1988 - 1994 Illustrator and exhibiting personal work
1987/8 Illustrator and part-time lecturer M.A Graphic Design,
Manchester Polytechnic


1987 M.A Distinction - Graphic Design (Illustration) Manchester Polytechnic
1986 B.A (Hons) First Class - Graphic Design (Illustration) Humberside College of Higher Education
1982-3 Foundation in Art & Design – Sheffield Polytechnic


Solo Shows 

2011 Gestalt Psychotherapy Centre, Manchester
2010 Gestalt Psychotherapy Centre, Manchester
2009 Kontor1, Åseda, Sweden
1994 Batley Art Gallery
1994 The Custard Factory, Birmingham
1994 The Stables Gallery, London
1994 Islington Arts Factory
1994 Tom Allen Arts Centre, London
1993 The Priory Gallery, Worksop
1993 Duke of Clarence, Islington
1992 Merlin Theatre, Sheffield
1991 Brahm Gallery, Leeds

Group Shows 

1994 "Contemporary Spiritual & Religious Art" Coventry Gallery, London
1993 The Green Room, Manchester
1992/3 "Art for a Fairer World", Oxfam Touring Show
1992 Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal
1992 Foyer Gallery, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
1991 Foyer Gallery, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
1991 Stockport Art Gallery
1991 Caudwells Craft Centre, Bakewell
1990 Design Centre, Manchester
1989 A:O:I: Gallery, London
1988 Wrighton Gallery, Manchester
1984 A:O:I Gallery, London

Also regularly exhibited in Open Exhibitions in Manchester, Holmfirth and South Yorkshire.