Junaid Sénéchal-Senekal, The Artist: Biography
Junaid Sénéchal-Senekal is an outstanding artist that creates emotion and awareness with dancing figures, abstract subjects, beloved wild African animals and landscapes, and architectural structures. Being exquisitely inventive in graphic technique and colour theory, he’s had the success of having his own gallery in Franschhoek and opening a second one in Knysna, South Africa.
Born in Cape Town in 1978, Junaid Sénéchal-Senekal has always had an interest in the creative arts, finishing his final year in DF Malan High School with a distinction in Art. He studied jewellery design, printmaking and design, going on to talking life drawing and attending Art Summer School at the University of Cape Town. Junaid achieved a Hirt and Carter Graphic Art Diploma with a major in Graphic Techniques in 1998.
In Sénéchal-Senekal’s paintings you will see the use of acrylic and mixed media on wooden board, using large areas of negative white space around his objects, creating an indescribable emotion. Yu will be impressed by the careful attention to detail when seeing a silver medium that seeks through the painted canvas that pierces you with more emotion. Using mostly warmer hues, there is contrasted line and brushwork – very rough, large and abstract brush and finger strokes contrasting with perfect and realistic brushwork.
Junaid has a wide variety of genres and subjects that he paints; figures being his absolute favourite. Most remarkable are his ballet dancers and intimate couple pieces. Enjoying abstract as well, it really compliments his realism that he uses with his wildlife paintings; always producing the work with his much loved negative white compositions for you to focus purely on the painted subject.
The experience Junaid has acquired over the years is extremely vast, having a series of murals in the Kidney Unit in Tygerberg Hospital and the Alta du Toit Centre. His Big Five animal themed paintings have large corporate interest like Old Mutual and private collectors in Botswana owning some of his collections, not to mention that he is internationally renowned for his work and has work displayed in a number of private collections in cities such as New York – in the Metropolitan Museum’s curator’s private collection -, London, and Paris. Washington DC house work of his displayed next to Salvador Dali and Jackson Pollock.
In 2004 though to 2007, Sénéchal-Senekal owned a gallery called La Concorde Art Gallery in Franschhoek. This gallery created a platform for several different artists to develop their style, technique and showcase their work. He has furthermore been contemporarily been displayed alongside Pablo Picasso and, at a different occasion, Jackson Pollock on an international forefront.
Sénéchal-Senekal developed his secret silver technique that uses different methods of layering and embossing heavy textures in 1996 that you will very prominently in his artwork. This was inspired at the University of Cape Town together with his best friend, Lulli, at the time. The technique was to cut out silver etching plates and placing them facedown into water, adding Shellac (Black Japan) into the water that adheres to the plates, causing an amazing marble effect. After this, the plates is placed into an acid and causes the adhesive to erode away, creating a embossed texture. Their invented technique inspired Junaid to create this effect on a larger, easier scale – this is where the secret, imported material remains a secret! The silver in his paintings always catches light in the most spectacular ways where you can end up starting at Sénéchal-Senekal’s work for ages.
Another breath taking technique that gets used in his work is the use of negative white space around his subject matters. The white space creates emotion by placing more focus on the subject. Together with this technique is the use of a subtle line through the subject, resembling the lifeline of endangered species. These two techniques go hand in hand together to portray the proudness of the animal, but also the fear of its species coming to an end. This simplicity compliments the silver technique beautifully.
A limited colour palette is used consisting of mostly warm hues such as burnt umber, but with a touch of cooler hues like phtalo blue with expressive and contrasting realistic brushwork. This resembles chaos and harmony. Adding a mix of new colours juxtapositions these elements to create a resonating composition of movement and tension. The silver highlights the art piece together with the colour use to bring the subject alive.
After Sénéchal-Senekal greatly appreciated painting our South African landscapes, he developed a deep love for the Big Five and endangered species. Leopard Portraits is his hallmark, as he creates a frozen moment in time with this majestic animal pouring out whatever emotion is is Junaid gives this agile creature. He studied the leopard in it’s natural environment, seeing how they interact, noticing their decorative coats, then using this silver technique to emphasise that aspect.
The Elephant Portraitsor better known as the African Reflection Series focuses on the African heritage of the elephant, where the African continent’s shape is visually merged with the shape of the elephant’s ear – that is also visible when looking at an elephant. This creates a distinctive relationship between land, mountains and animal. Thought using horizontal lines on the elephant’s trunk with zebra inspired shapes – also used with his female figures – creates a true sense of the matriarchal spirit and strong female elephants being in a heard, where, as the males always stay in separate tribes. The colours that artist Sénéchal-Senekal uses with his elephants, express the warm African sun and dark earthy hues found in soil that compliments the negative white space.
Whilst in the University of Cape Town, Sénéchal-Senekal, studied figure drawing and thus enjoys the study of figures and how they flow, interact and move. He loves movement and pausing that moment in time to reveal the emotion that is being experienced by the subject, while playing with his negative and positive space, complimenting the composition as a whole. Figures are sensual and intimate, but never explicit. He believes that some artists are ignorant with creating too explicit artworks that they think would sell, but then wonder why they don’t. Families, being the largest clientele of Junaid’s, buying or commissioning paintings would not be able to have visually explicit work in their homes. Having explicit visuals would drastically reduce interest in an artist’s work. Their needs to be a message of connection of one and the beauty in that, and it’s up to the artist to create that emotion and thus a painting does not necessarily require graphic details. I’s a about a message and emotion.
The goal with abstracts is to bring the same feel of flow and movement as with the figures to a living space, complimenting whatever the client’s interior is. The abstract works should bring emotion into the space. The new series, Abstract, has natural tones, complimented by more dramatic, emotional hues and line work.
Rhino Poaching is a very big issue in the wildlife sector today. Poaching this magnificent animal is a crime against nature and a revolting act from the human race. Junaid Sénéchal-Senekal Art Galleries donates ten percent of the Rhino Collection to the Poached Rhino Foundation (poachedrhino.org) to raise funds to prevent poaching. All monies raise funds to prevent poaching. All monies raises with this foundation is spent on different projects for the conservation of rhinos – the main project being Notching. This entails an experienced team of experts (pilots, vets, ecologists and rangers) using helicopters to dart and ‘notch the ear’, draw the animals’s DNA and micro-chip the rhino. This is a new initiative that enable sponsors to virtually adopt a rhino. These kinds of initiative help create awareness in the UK and SA to prevent the needless slaughter of our rhinos and to raise more funds.
It is estimated that 75 percent of the world’s rhino population and 90 percent of Africa’s rhino population is in fact in South Africa. The rhino species is around 50 million years old, and we do not stop the appetite of this amazing creatures horn, the rhino will be extinct within ten years, as almost two rhino’s are killed per day, simply to amputate their horns. If this continues it would mean the end of the Big 5 – a thought that is unbearable to animal- and Africa lovers.
So please donate today whether a single or regular contribution, it will make a divverence! You can donate via the website or please contact a member of staff.
Company No. 08462566
Charity No. 1153221
Junaid Sénéchal-Senekal is a proudly South African artist that uses his master of the art, ground breaking techniques and love for animals to create awe-inspiring works of art. His combination of mastered techniques, allows an art collector and enthusiast to be emotionally touched and to have a story told to forever connect the viewer and the portrayed subject.
See this list of destinations:
Brisbane, Bunbury, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Australia; Saltsburg, Austria; Brussels, Schilde, Belgium; Säo Paulo, Brazil; Toronto, Vancouver, Canada; Papnos, Cyprus; Prague, Czech Republic; Copenhagen, Denmark; Dubai, Emirates; Birmingham, Bristol, Columbia, Cardiff, Essex, Gatwick, Hampshire, Leeds, London, Manchester, Somerset, Surrey, Isle of Man, West Sussex, England [Includes one of the members of the Windsor Royal Family…]; Paris, Marly le Roi, Nanterre, France; Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, InselRiems, Landshut, Munich, Germany; Ehnen, Luxembourg: Amsterdam, Haarlem, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Hong Kong, China; Dublin, Ireland; Tel Aviv, Israel; Comber, Cap Malheureux, Mauritius; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Katowice, Poznan, Warsaw, Poland; Jeddah, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Aberdeen, Scotland; Singapore; Stockholm, Sweden; Berne, Geneva, Saltirapromenade, Uttwil, Zurich, Switzerland; Instanbul, Turkey; and Broomfield, Connecticut, Dallas, Los Angeles, Maryland, Miami, New York [Junaid’s work purchased by one of the Curator’s of Metropolitan Museum.], San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Washington DC [Junaid’s work is displayed alongside the infamous Jackson Pollock’s and Salvador Dali’s artwork …], USA; Mombasa, Kenya; Lusaka, Zambia as well as to the local market in Cape Town [displayed in Parliament], Durban and Johannesburg, Pretoria [also displayed in Parliament, the Union Building, Pretoria], and the Wilderness.