Helen de Sybel
Highgate Gallery
25 Jun - 08 Jul 2021
Friday 25 June - 08 July
Tuesdays to Fridays 1-5pm, Saturdays 11am-4pm
Sundays 11am-5pm, Mondays Closed

Detail of Father and Daughter Calais Jungle,
Oil and Collage 81x105cm ©Helen de Sybel 2018

Highgate Gallery is pleased to host Borders, an exhibition of paintings by Helen de Sybel.  Working in acrylic, oil, collage, charcoal and mixed media, she creates intense and forceful images, with an emphasis on the figure depicted in landscape or cityscape.  Colour, dynamic line and challenging themes forge a powerful connection with the onlooker.

Child Refugee, acrylic and pastel on paper 15x20cm ©Helen de Sybel 2019

Borders first grew out of a deeply felt reaction to the plight of the refugees in the ‘Calais Jungle’ (2016).  Through the medium of oil paint and collage she references the conditions of war and displacement that have driven many of these individuals and their families from their countries of origin to seek a better life.

“In this body of work, I have become interested in the separation between the figures which struggle to remain ‘whole’ and the surrounding hostile and unstable landscape in which they find themselves.”

The characters who populate these canvasses are highly ambiguous, in singles and in pairs, sometimes running, sometimes hiding or following or being followed.  Much is left open for the viewer to interpret in these charged, vital, expressionistic works.

On the way, acrylic and ink, 12x30cm ©Helen de Sybel 2019

As the series evolved, Helen has continued to delve into the interior world of metaphorical boundaries, of transgressions and borders crossed, of personal alienation.

About the artist
Helen de Sybel studied Art History in Italy and went on to train at Harrow and Camberwell School of Art where she gained a BA (hons) and was selected as part of Christie’s Pick of the Graduates.  She works from her studio in East London and exhibits regularly with galleries and as part of the Shoreditch Community.  She is currently Artist in Residence at St Martin`s Church, Gospel Oak, London, where she is exhibiting an installation of twelve paintings based on the Old Testament.

Recent exhibitions include Works on Paper at the Shipton Gallery, and British Paintings II at the Project Space, Bermondsey.  Major projects have also included a series of collages based on Milton’s Paradise Lost, now in private collections in the UK and the US, and Urban Journeys (oil and mixed media), an exploration of the human condition depicted through uncertainty and isolation.

For further information please contact: Helen de Sybel


Exhibition co-ordinator for Highgate Gallery: Jason Sumray

30% of all sales of work in this exhibition will go to London Churches Refugee Fund.

Gallery open Tuesday-Friday 1-5pm, Saturday 11am-4pm, Sunday 11am-5pm; closed Mondays.  Admission free.