Healing Paintings at Svenska Kyrkan.
Artist and cancer survivor Helena Blomljus shows her mixed media art at the Swedish Church in New York City.
Can the human body heal through art? Many people who have overcome not only stress and minor illnesses but diseases as severe as cancer, claim it can. And research has shown that listening to music, for instance, lowers our stress levels, so there’s scientific proof that art is not only entertaining for us, but good too. It is therefore especially interesting to take a closer look at the exhibition currently on display at the Svenska Kyrkan in New York, entitled: “A glimpse of a Shimmering Love” with artist and cancer survivor Helena Blomljus. Stepping into her world is a bit like stepping into a wedding celebration; it’s white, and pink and has lots and lots of flowers and lace in it. Does that perhaps sound a bit too saccharine?
“I want to touch people,” says Helena, who is clad in pink and white and who wears silver Aladdin slippers. “I want people to leave their intellects and enter their hearts for awhile. I also want my paintings to be more than cool paintings, I want them to be like soap bubbles, like something you cannot quite describe. How can you describe the taste of strawberries for instance?”
Helena Blomljus is the daughter of a famous Swedish painter called Gun-Britt Lawurn, and because of that she initially refused to paint. Instead she worked as an interior designer, creating rooms and environments with fabrics, flowers, candles and music. Then four years ago, she hit a wall: She and her husband, Tomas Enhager who lectures in personal development, and their six children lived on a farm in Frillesås, where goats, hens, and horses roamed and where Helena grew her own vegetables. Her husband was always traveling for work, and without any help, Helena felt burnt out and soon enough it was discovered she had cancer and had to be operated on and begin treatment
“That’s when I began painting,” she says. “And it helped me get better. You enter a different track when you paint; you are allowed to have feelings.”
Miraculously cancer free
Today she is – miraculously – cancer free.
She explains that she paints either with her eyes closed or upside down (that is she turns her canvases on the head once she’s done), in order for her paintings not to consciously represent anything.
“Of course often they will look like I had something in mind anyway, but at least it’s not conscious,” she says with a smile. “I paint with acrylic colors, and I use plaster, sequins, fabrics, egg shells…”
Her dream is to have her paintings hang in hospitals: In recovery rooms, in maternity wards – anywhere where people may experience fear and in need of relaxation.
“I only paint when I’m happy, never when I am in a bad mood, because I want my happy mood to transfer onto the paintings I do.”
Helena Blomljus (her surname is a combination of the Swedish words for flower and candle) will also have a solo exhibition/installation “Shimmering Love”, in New York City in September at Gallery New Century Artists.
“But I fell in love with the Swedish Church when I visited New York in February while looking for galleries. I decided to ask if perhaps I could have a little appetizer exhibition here first, and they said yes!”
Enter Helena’s world and check out her mixed media paintings at the Swedish Church, where they can be seen until June 18.
For more information: