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North Battleford, Saskatchewan, 1919
Saanichton, British Columbia, 1995
Biography synopsis
Helen Severson McKay Andersen (n�e Anderson) grew up in an artistic family. Her mother Fannie Anderson was a painter, and her father Dr. William Edmund Anderson, an artist and avid art collector. She studied painting under her father as a teenager and then went on to study nursing, graduating as a Registered Nurse in 1940. Andersen moved to British Columbia where she took classes at the Vancouver School of Art, the University of British Columbia and the Victoria College of Art in her free time. She studied with Kit Thorne, Bob Davidson, John Koerner, Jacques de Tonnancour and Joe Plaskett; she was also good friends with Jack Shadbolt, Bill Reid and Max Maynard. During her studies she was awarded a grant from the Community Arts Council (Victoria B.C.) to pursue painting full-time. Andersen was an active peace advocate for many years. In the 1980�s she painted a series related to these activities which received international attention; the mayor of Hiroshima wrote her a letter of commendation in regards to her painting Nuclear Mother. She exhibited mainly in Vancouver and Victoria (British Columbia) but also had solo exhibitions in Iran, Denmark, and Tanzania. Andersen was twice elected as the Secretary of the Federation of Canadian Artists and was a member of the Saanich Peninsula Art and Crafts Society, Board Member of the Community Arts Council (1992). She also received Communications Canada�s Lescarbot Award for her contribution to community cultural activities in 1992. Andersen�s works are held in public and private collections, including the Sidney-North Saanich Library; Saanich Peninsula Hospital; Ocean Sciences buildings and the Brentwood Credit Bay Union (Saanich BC) among others.
Media used
University of British Columbia (under Joe Plaskett; John Koerner)
Vancouver School of Art (under Kit Thorne)
Victoria College (under Bill Porteous)
Federation of Canadian Artists

Writings about
Amos, Robert. "Eclectic Styles Convey the Spirit of Helen Andersen." Times-Colonist (Victoria) Apr. 19 1986.
Bill Andersen. Helen Andersen, Artist (1919-1995)., ?
MacDonald, Colin S. The Dictionary of Canadian Artists. (Volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker) Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2009.
Pogue, Liz. "Art Community Loses One of its Luminaries." Times Colonist (Victoria) Jan. 1996.
Tuele, Nicholas. British Columbia Women Artists, 1885-1985. Victoria: Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 1985.

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