Foundation releases book in memory of Robert Lenkiewicz

Three years in the making but worth its weight in gold to any aspiring artist, a biography of the life of artist Robert Lenkiewicz has been released, Plymouth Live reports.

According to the report, the first volume of his biography worked on by the Lenkiewicz foundation and written by author and art historian, Mark D Price, recounts the years from his birth in 1941 through to 1979 – with the second volume soon to follow.

Regarded as one of the best artists of his time in the South West, Lenkiewicz was born in London in 1941. He came from a German-Jewish family and his parents sought London as refuge just before World War Two.

In some ways Robert reneged against trend, as soon as he was able he lived much of his life in solitude, perhaps in part due to the company he kept when his parents ran a hotel in the capital, at such a young age his surroundings then mostly consisted of the elderly and he was exposed to what the impacts of diaspora and strong bias could have on others.

His work featured the people he was closest to, those he befriended and looked after as well as his lovers. Although sometimes humorous, his work sought to tackle issues which he felt significant enough to rise through his creations. These included: mental health, disability, suicide, old-age, addiction and love. 

He moved to Plymouth in 1969 and made it his home. He was for the many, in his art studios he had an open door policy, an eccentric who regularly connected with ‘vagrants and down and outs.’ He wanted the unheard to become heard and everybody to be equal, hence why he assisted so many. Often breaking into warehouses which he commandeered for people who needed shelter.

The Barbican is the site of one of his and perhaps the city of Plymouth’s most favourite murals which shows many figures on the wall. One in particular, is a man pointing to contemporary coins and resting his ‘hand upon a skull, reminding one of the imminence of death’.

His love for art was equal to his love for books. He collected them and ended up with thousands of works. His art studio was based in the Barbican, so he could often be spotted there in clothes which usually adorned the splattering of his paint work, not forgetting red scarf around his neck and the clutch of books under arm, following him almost everywhere he went.

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