Light and shadow at The Owl House – Nieu Bethesda

my world

Photo taken by Acacia (age 5)
Photo taken by Acacia (age 5)

Our daughter Acacia (5) called The Owl House in Nieu Bethesda “The God place”.  True art is spiritual, a link between mankind and infinity.  It is a bridge between flesh and blood and that part of us which reaches for more, even when ‘more’ cannot be named and pinned down.

sun window

Helen Martins was a troubled soul, there is a tangible sadness in her home The Owl House.  Despite this sadness or possibly enhanced by it, I felt quiet joy at The Owl House for beauty cannot help but inspire joy.


Helen and Koos Malgas worked together in creating the fascinating concrete sculptures in the garden.  Many figures express yearning, arms reaching heavenward, in gestures which speak of a longing to cast off feet of clay.


Disney would have us see mermaids through coral tinted glasses while most mythology casts them as harbingers of peril.  I saw the many statues of beckoning mermaids as symbols that Helen wanted to see mortal forms crushed against the rocks of reality, enabling the spirit to be free.

glass light pane

What captivated me most was the focus on light and colour.  From the coloured glass window panes to the the interior walls and ceilings decorated with crushed glass.  The glass speaks of brokenness but it speaks in the language of light.   Reflections and light summarise the spirit of Helen Martins.  Like the glass shards which she surrounded herself with, she was a fragmented soul.  Perhaps on the awful day when she ended her life drinking caustic soda (drain cleaner) she wanted to leave the world of broken light and find wholeness in another life.

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.” ― Omar Khayyám
This lady is the daughter of Koos Malgas.  She now sells statues crafted by her son, you don't get a more authentic curio than that
This lady is the daughter of Koos Malgas. She now sells statues crafted by her son, you don’t get a more authentic curio than that

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  1. Wow, I visited this place a long, long time ago but was too young to appreciate its beauty.

    • We last visited 7 years ago and this visit was more memorable and meaningful this time. The ideal would be to just sit there for about 4 hours and absorb

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