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Helen Wiltshire :: 1945-2011

Helen Wiltshire was a well-known Queensland painter. Her highly-coloured, bold and illustrative style epitomised the flora and fauna of far north Queensland, its reef and rainforest. 

From the 1980s to 2010 the artist opened and ran commercial galleries in Bingil Bay, Cairns, Mission Beach village, Palm Cove, Port Douglas and on Hamilton Island. These galleries exhibited her paintings as well as the work of many major contemporary north Queensland artists and craftspeople. 

Wiltshire exhibited widely across Australia as well as in Japan and the USA. Many business firms commissioned her to produce paintings, prints and murals including the Ayers Rock Resort Company; Cairns Port Authority; Dunk Island Resort; Castaways Resort, Mission Beach; Hamilton Island Resort; Hilton Wintergarden, Brisbane; Land-Rover, North America; Mission Beach Tourism and Trans Australia Airlines for Bedarra Island Resort.

The artist died in Cairns after being ill with cancer for some years.

Biography 

1945    Born in Melbourne 
1963   Graduated in art and design at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and Prahran College of Technology, Melbourne
1964   Head, Fashion Design, for Ricki Reed Australia, Melbourne
1966    Established fashion and furniture fabrics firm Pryntar Fabrics, Melbourne, with husband Stephen Wiltshire and Bee Ewen. In 1967 The National Gallery of Victoria acquired a Pryntar textile swatch book with Helen Wiltshire designs
1969   Son Ben born
1971   Daughter Amanda born
1973   Moved from Melbourne to South Mission Beach, Queensland
1975   Lived on Bedarra Island with husband Stephen and children Amanda and Ben
1979   Solo exhibition, Holdsworth Galleries, Sydney
1979   Moved to Bingil Bay, Queensland; built a house/studio/gallery in Cutten Street
1980   Daughter Hilary born
1980s   Continued to live part time on Bedarra Island
1982   Commissioned by Trans Australia Airlines to produce a series of limited edition prints for Bedarra Island Resort
1983   Commissioned by the Mission Beach Resort
1983   Solo exhibition, Upstairs Gallery, Cairns: gouache and acrylic paintings produced for Mission Beach Resort 
1984    Participated in group exhibitions in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego
1985    Tradewinds Resort Hotel, Cairns, acquired a collection of silk-screen prints 
1985    Commissioned to produce 100 silk-screen prints for Castaways Resort, Mission Beach
1985    Commissioned by Hilton Wintergarden, Brisbane, to produce a series of limited-edition prints
1986   Commissioned by Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas Resort to create a limited-edition print series 
1987    Solo exhibition, Owen Dixon Gallery (Owen Dixon Chambers), Melbourne
1988    Solo exhibition, Upstairs Gallery, Cairns
1989    Hamilton Island Resort commissioned a series of paintings and prints for the Resort’s hotel
1990    Group exhibition at the Pier Gallery, Cairns, with Samantha Fermo and Jo-Anne Hook
1990    Hamilton Island Resort commissioned a second series of paintings
1990    Solo exhibition Capricorn Galleries, Melbourne
1990    Group exhibition Park Road Gallery, Brisbane
1990    Commissioned for the Queensland Government’s year book, On Queensland
1990    Work acquired for the Joseph Brown collection, Melbourne 
1991   Solo exhibition in Nagoya, Japan (reviewed in Nagoya newspaper Chunichi Shinbun)
1991   Produced print series Tropical Birds of Australia for the Japanese market
1992   Exhibited in Tokyo’s International Art Show, Japan
1992    Opened a branch of the Helen Wiltshire Gallery in Cairns
1992   Group exhibition, Takashimaya Osaka, Japan
1992    Solo exhibition, Tama Plaza, Tokyo, Japan
1992   Commissioned to paint a large triptych by the Cairns Port Authority for the Cairns International Airport Terminal arrival lounge area
1992   Commissioned by Quicksilver Cruises, Port Douglas for a print series
1993    Prints acquired by IBM for its Sydney offices
1993   Produced limited edition print series Fruit & Flowers
1993   Solo exhibition at Printemps Ginza, Tokyo, Japan
1993   Commissioned by Ayers Rock Resort Company for a limited edition print series on the theme of Ayers Rock (now Uluru) and central Australia
1993     Solo exhibition at Tama Plaza, Tokyo, Japan
1993    Print series acquired for the IBM Collection, Sydney
1993   Commissioned by Takashimaya Australia for the limited-edition print series Sydney Harbour
1993   Solo exhibition at Nikko Hotel, Sydney
1993   Commissioned by J.R. Kyushu, Japan, for canvas painting Fukuoka Fantasy
1994   Commissioned by Land-Rover, North America for a limited print edition of 100, Tropical Birds of Australia
1994   Produced the limited-edition print series Fantasea Reef
1994   Second solo exhibition at Printemps Ginza, Tokyo, Japan 
1994   Solo exhibition Gallery Chaco Tokyo, Japan
1994   Participated in The Australian Fair, Akeno and Uita City, Japan
1994   Group exhibition Galleria Minami, Ginza, Tokyo, Japan

From the 1980s to 2010 the artist opened and ran commercial galleries in Bingil Bay, Cairns, Mission Beach village, Palm Cove, Port Douglas and on Hamilton Island. Further commissions included works for the Cairns Convention Centre; StanwelI Corporation and Conrad-Jupiters Casino, Gold Coast.
Publications include: Germaine, Max. Artists and Galleries of Australia, Volumes 1 & 2, Third Edition. Craftsman Press, Sydney, 1990: Page 735; Germaine, Max. A Dictionary of Women Artists of Australia. Craftsman House, Sydney, 1991: Page 475.

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