Helen Papanikolas


© 2001

Helen Zeese Papanikolas lived in Helper, UT which had a thriving Greek immigrant population until she was 9 years old. The experience laid the foundation for her life's work, chronicling the history and experience of Greek immigrants in Utah, the West and throughout the US.

There was one occasion when Helen Papanikolas' portrait took on a life of its own:

In 2000, I sculpted this life-size bust of Helen, Utah's most famous and beloved Greek historian. Soon afterward, Helen became quite ill and was confined to her home.

At the Utah Association of University Women's 2002 Winter Olympics Art Exhibit, I proudly displayed Helen's portrait and stood by it on opening day. Suddenly from across the room a woman shrieked, "Helen's here!" People turned as she ran towards me. The woman stopped abruptly and stood completely still for several minutes. She then walked up to me and said quietly, "Thank you for capturing Helen's essence."

Helen passed away in 2004. Her portrait resides in Salt Lake City's Hellenic Cultural Center. 

Life-size
Resin/Marble Dust Portrait 

Award winner: American Association of University Women