In Remembrance of Helen Haller (1943- 2019)
Reprint of text displayed at Museum London in August 2019 in remembrance of Helen Haller:
" Helen Haller, 16 August 1943 - 13 August 2019
"Museum London shares the deep sadness of many in London upon learning of the passing of Helen (Hilwi) Assaf Haller (née) Hassan). The third eldest of the eleven children of Alex and Ayshi Hassan, Helen spent most of her life in London. She was an outgoing and generous supporter of the local arts community.
"She owned and operated the Embassy Hotel with the Haller family from 1977 until 2001, and under her leadership the Embassy became a legendary cultural venue for music performances of all genres.
"She worked with many of London's visual artists in her patronage of the Embassy Cultural House (ECH), a progressive space for innovative programming from 1983 to 1990. The late Melanie Townsend, former Head of Exhibitions and Collections at Museum London, wrote that the Embassy Cultural House brought "the work of London artists to an international stage and the work of international artists and filmmakers to audiences in London.” ECH events and exhibitions were culturally diverse and often in advance of issues that are of urgent concern today, including the rights of the homeless and other marginalized people.
"Helen befriended and cared for many of the residents of the Embassy Hotel, advocated on their behalf, and worked to help them maintain independence. She strived to make the difficult social world surrounding the Embassy livable, optimistically transforming adversity into creative uniqueness.
"In 1978, Helen commissioned her sister, artist Jamelie Hassan, to paint a series of watercolours related to the Embassy, its workers, and residents. The watercolours, a tribute to life in the East End, were on display in the hotel lounge for many years. Helen recently donated these historic watercolours to Museum London's permanent collection.
"Helen had a dynamic personality, a generous heart, and an indomitable spirit, which she expressed in her commitment to the arts, and in her unconditional love for her two sons, five granddaughters, and two greatgrandchildren. She will be missed by all who had the good fortune to know her."