Australian Artist and Creator of Eleni Art, Helen Andronis Ibrahim, Connects the World to the Lives of the Indigenous People

I Am in Times Square

Photos Credit: Maria Orfanos @phosphotos

From the Land Down Under to the United States, Australian-based artist Helen Andronis Ibrahim has left her life as a hairdresser to travel the world and help make it a little more beautiful. New to the world of professional artistry, Helen has already been part of shows in New York City and other cultural havens around the world. In her works, Helen showcases the stories of indigenous cultures, whether they are the Hopi community of Arizona or the aboriginals of Australia. Through her work, Helen attempts to teach the viewer about the power of love and beauty. She shares her life story and vision with JustLuxe

How did you start as an artist?  

That’s an interesting question!  I have always been an artist I just never believed that I was good enough to call myself one. The universe steps in and I reached a point where I had no choice but to let go, breathe, be brave, and not afraid to fall. I eventually was open to the fact that my purpose on the planet was to be an artist. And no matter how much I avoided it. The truth was always going to be louder in my heart than my head.    

Did you always view art as your vocation?  

Not Always! My dream was to heal the hearts on the planet. I was never quite sure how I was going to achieve such a big dream. I was a very successful hairdresser for many years and did lots of different things before and during. I avoided painting and selling my artwork, as I was always afraid of being judged.  

How would you define your art? 

I paint what is true to my Soul. Art is who I am.  And will change as I change, grow as I grow, live as I live and love as I love. I paint what comes to me and what touches my heart at the time, and I love to paint stories.  


Who were your main influences as an artist?

My influences are anyone or any place that touches my heart and heal a part of my soul. Only then can I paint from my heart. One of my main passions is to paint Indigenous Tribes on the planet. I have always been inspired by and fascinated with tribes around the world. The unique art they create, stories they pass on, music they chant and spiritual beliefs they live by; above all the incredible connection they have to this planet and all of its beauty.

You painted portraits of Indigenous Elder Tjilpi Kunmanara Randall How did you initially meet him? 

In 2009 I was told I have a job to do. I was shown my destiny and taught how to walk it. But first I had to get rid of any negative beliefs I had about myself as an artist, to make this journey even possible. I was told I will meet an Indigenous Man and my job is to paint his story. He will once again help me to believe in myself and to trust in who I AM. I was invited to view his documentary Kanyini and that’s where I first met Tjilpi. I promised him on that same evening I would take his story around the world. And that is what I’ll continue to do. I immersed myself in the wonder and raw beauty of our mother earth and what came to me was no less than extraordinary. Amazingly, this helped me understand the life I’ve come to live. I needed to make some sense of my place in the world, and to recognize my purpose. But firstly I needed to step into the most precious gift of all, MYSELF.

In 2011 I painted An Indigenous Aboriginal Yankunytjatjara Elder. He was a ”Tjilpi” (special teaching Uncle) of the Yankunytjatjara Nation and one of the listed traditional keepers of Uluru. Kunmanara Randall was a member of the Stolen Generations of the Indigenous Peoples of Australia. Taken away from his mother and family under government policy, which forcibly removed all half-caste (half-Aboriginal) children from their families.   


What is the main message behind those paintings?  

At some point most of us wake up and invite wisdom into our lives to reach our higher self. Because eventually we want to know whom we are and why we exist. Art for me is my truth, my religion, my identity, my escape and my hope. It opens my mind, heals my heart, fuels my body and frees my soul. It gives me a purpose in life. It inspires me to heal, to touch, to give and to love. Better yet, my work communicates to the human race what I have learnt along the way   So love yourself and your kind. Make changes. Ask for guidance. Seek the truth and find your purpose.  You may touch one soul or you may touch millions.  Once the mind is open, the heart will heal itself. Believe in your power and anything is possible.  There is too much sadness on the planet to ignore; yet enough innocence to make it all worthwhile.    

How did those images end up being exhibited in New York?  

“See Me” gallery which is a gallery based in New York offered me an opportunity to show my work alongside other artist around the world. My main priority was to get this painting “I AM” of Tjilpi Kunmanara Randall displayed to many so that they could feel the energy of an exceptional man he was and always will be. They also displayed my Native American painting called “TRUST”. And it was only just a sketch at that stage.  


Kunmanara Randall recently passed.  That must have been very difficult for you.   

It has been very painful for me, not only for myself, but for everyone. I've only known him for a short time, but he had such a major impact on my life, my creativity and my art. What an inspiration. I couldn't begin to imagine what his wife and family feel; people who have known him for a lifetime. May his spirit fly free and with great respect to him, his family, his culture and all Indigenous cultures on the planet. I will forever share him with the world the best way I know how. He is a true healer and has touched and healed the hearts of so many in this country and across the globe. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time, listen, learn, and create with him. I'm confident that he will now guide me for everything that is to come.   I dedicate this painting in his Memory (Name removed) Kunmanara Randall 10/10/1934 - 12/5/2015   Tjilpi Kunmanara Randall was a teacher and leader for Indigenous land rights, education, community development and cultural awareness. He was a bridge between cultures and World Nations, creating an understanding so that indigenous and non-indigenous people can live and learn together, heal the past through shared experience in the present. He inspired me through the gentleness of his Soul and the forgiveness in his eyes, and taught me to trust once again in who I AM. And as promised to Tjilpi from the beginning, our painting "I AM" will journey across the world to share his story and the unconditional LOVE he had for humanity and his land.    

You also visited a Hopi reservation in the United States.  How did that come about?   Sitting in my studio one night, I just had a feeling it was time to go! The time to head over to the United States to the Hopi Reservation in Arizona, the time to “TRUST” that I will be guided by my intuition. To “TRUST” this was the next part of my journey.  

How do you feel the images you’re painting that portray indigenous people in Australia and in the U.S. combine?  

The connection they have to the land and all of its beauty.  

What are you currently working on?  

I’m currently working on a very large portrait of “TRUST”, A Native American man, which will journey across the globe with Tjilpi.  A painting started after I got back from Arizona after spending time with the Natives on the Hopi reservation.   

Carly Zinderman

Carly Zinderman is a Senior Staff Writer for JustLuxe, based just outside of Los Angeles, CA. Since graduating from Occidental College with a degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies, she has written on a variety of topics for books, magazines and online publications, but loves fashion and style best. In her spare time, when she?s not writing, Carly enjoys watching old movies, reading an...(Read More)

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