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Leopold Senekal was born in Gauteng South Africa in 1977 and grew up in Polokwane Limpopo. Leopold's passion for art and theater was ignited at a young age and fueled by his eccentric grandmother he fondly refers to as my own Mrs. Havisham As a child he was fascinated by her makeshift art studios and rooms filled with empty frames stacked to the rafters, the air heavy with oil paint and turpentine. Spending most of his free time with her, Leopold was inspired by and engaged with her artistically inquisitive nature and avant-garde approach to art.
Leopold was given the opportunity to study Drama at the University of Stellenbosch Western Cape and completed his BDRAM degree, after which he specialized in Scenography and Production Design obtaining his Bdram Hons. degree in 2000. He was awarded the US Production Design award in 1999 for Rohald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and again in 2000 for Tennessee William's Vieux Carre. His Scenography allowed him to marry his two great passions of Theatre and Fine Arts.
He launched his professional career as Production Designer with the international hit [0x1]The Mysteries[0x1] in 2001. Leopold quickly established himself as an accomplished designer working on various projects both locally and abroad.
In 2001 Leopold moved abroad where he took up a teaching position at St. Benedicts Performing Arts Collage, Derbyshire UK. During this time Leopold and his wife travelled extensively over Europe and North Africa juggling teaching and theatre projects. After eight years abroad Leopold moved back to Cape Town South Africa and continued his career as stage designer working with some of South Africa[0x1]s best Designers, Directors and Producers in both theatre and television.
In 2011 Leopold was nominated for two Fleur Du Caps and won the coveted accolade for his production design of Aesop[0x1]s Fables in collaboration with the Fugard Theatre. The same year Leopold was awarded the GIPCA emerging director[0x1]s grant to stage Words Words Words by David Ives.
The taxing hours of life in Theatre took its toll on Leopold and his young family and the sudden death of his father caused Leopold to reassess his life. In 2012 Leopold and his family moved back to Limpopo province where he directed all his creative energy into his painting. Setting up a small studio in his home Leopold started painting feverously. [0x1]For the first time in my life I am free to just be, just do, and just express, explore and question[0x1] everything I thought I understood about line, form, colour and texture[0x1]
From an acclaimed designer Leopold made a natural transition and moved forward, experimenting with abstracts in various mediums. This pushed him to expand his horizons and tap into new areas of painting he had not yet explored. There was an obvious freedom and personal expression with abstraction and it was then that he really began to flourish. He was deeply interested in the effects of color, texture and the emotional response to strong composition and design. By removing the representational and creating something that told a story without an observational subject matter was very exciting.
Today, Leopold's work is a bold mix of styles, ranging from strong contemporary works to fragmented weathered and organic compositions. He brings an energetic provocative, powerful and sophisticated feel to his paintings through unique application, balance of color, composition and texture.
B.Dram. Hons. University of Stellenbosch
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