Junaid Sénéchal-Senekal, The Artist and owner of Sénéchal-Senekal Art Gallery / Franschhoek, South Africa
Born in the breathtaking coastal city of Cape Town, South Africa, in 1978, Junaid Sénéchal-Senekal has enjoyed a fruitful journey as an artist. Junaid has been drawn to the arts all his life, and since picking up the brush at only five years old, has created an incredible body of work to date. His formal art career began when he graduated, with distinction in Art, from DF Malan High School. He then enrolled at the prestigious University of Cape Town (UCT), where he attended The Art Summer School, and earned a Hirt & Carter Graphic Art Diploma, with a major in Graphic Techniques in 1998.
The Secret Silver Technique
Art is as much about discovery as it is about expression. While studying at UCT, Sénéchal-Senekal developed a secret silver technique, which involves different methods of layering and embedding heavy textures into his pieces. This secret silver technique imbues his artworks with an air of luxury and mystery – and combined with his interesting use of white space around the subject matter, makes for an undeniably captivating, emotive viewing experience.
Work that spans the globe
Over the years, Junaid has refined his technique and found himself – and his work – travelling the globe to share his creations. On home soil, Junaid has completed a series of murals at the Kidney Unit at the Tygerberg Hospital and the Alta du Toit Centre. His iconic Big Five Animal artworks have received much attention from corporates.
Internationally, many of his pieces adorn the homes of private collectors, sharing space with artworks by the likes of the legendary Salvador Dali, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso.
Sénéchal-Senekal’s work has grown to great acclaim in the USA, particularly following his attendance at Art Basel in Miami in 2016, where his work stood out amongst the globe’s finest talent. He then went on to win the Spotlight Artists award in New York City in 2017.
On a royal note, Junaid’s work is displayed in the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi, UAE, forming part of the private collection of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan and his brother, Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan.
Inspired by Africa
Junaid has painted South African landscapes extensively, and in exploring every shade, form and feature of some of the country’s most idyllic scenes, has developed an intense love of wildlife – and the now-endangered Big Fivein particular.
Leopard portraits are Junaid’s hallmark, having spent countless hours studying these elegant yet powerful cats in their natural habitat, admiring every detail of their decorative coats. Junaid’s ability to freeze a moment in time and capture an intimate closeness to this majestic creature is incredible. He brings through the magnificence of nature by using his unique silver technique, giving each artwork an alluring, lively feel.
The heritage of the African Elephant is another area of interest for the artist. Through his African Reflexions Series, Junaid explores the harmonious connection between land, mountains and animal, with the African Elephant representing Africa. He was struck by the powerful matriarchal spirit displayed by the African elephants he had observed in the wild, and brought this into his work through the use of horizontal lines, zebra stripes and feminine figures. In stark contrast to Junaid’s bold use of negative space is a use of colour that sings the warmth of the African sun, and the rich, earthy tones of the soil.
Beyond the seen
The word “abstract” refers to an idea which exists in thought alone. It speaks to the feelings and thoughts we can’t articulate, but somehow, come to understand through our senses. Junaid works with the abstract by creating works that evoke pure, almost tangible tranquillity. It is his way of sharing the peace that he has found with those who arrive willing to connect with his work.
Celebrating the human form
Junaid fell in love with the human form while studying figure drawing at the University of Cape Town as a young artist. He was especially fascinated by the way in which expression through flow and movement evokes powerful emotions in the admirer, and has since committed to the intention of creating a sense of calmness and tranquillity with each piece. Some may feel serenity, while others may be moved to feel joy, passion and excitement – each viewer senses something different.
Junaid met Mr and Mrs Harvey during a trip to London in October 2012. Their son, Martin, a trained British rugby player and former ballet dancer for the Royal Ballet, introduced Junaid to his wife, the celebrated New York City Ballet principal dancer, Maria Kowroski.
Junaid had the privilege of having Maria as a model, who became the inspiration for his enchanting Ballerina Paintings. In each piece, one can feel the deep concentration of the dancer quite distinctly, and the form is the perfect reflection of absolute balance and the sensitive nature of the freedom that dance provides. The dress itself is not to be overlooked either – it dances in harmony with the movement of the body.
The Full Picture
The Sénéchal-Senekal paintings are crafted using acrylic and mixed media on wooden board. The artist specialises in a variety of genres, with a unique love for working with figures. Each piece boasts impressive – and careful – attention to detail, framed by an interesting use of white space, with Junaid’s signature silver medium shining through.
Far & Wide
No matter where in the world you may be, a Sénéchal-Senekal masterpiece is sure to add deep tranquillity, immense beauty and a distinctive African character to your office or personal collection. From the Union Building at Parliament in Pretoria, South Africa, to the collection of a Metropolitan Museum curator in New York, Junaid’s pieces can be found adorning homes and various other spaces in the following destinations around the globe:
Brisbane, Brompton, Bunbury, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Australia; Saltsburg, Vienna, Austria; Antwerp, Brussels, Schilde, Belgium; Säo Paulo, Brazil; Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Toronto, Vancouver, Canada; Paphos, Cyprus, Greece; Prague, Czech Republic; Copenhagen, Denmark; Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Columbia, Cardiff, Essex, Gatwick, Hampshire, Leeds, Leicester, London, Liverpool Manchester, Somerset, Surrey, Isle of Man, West Sussex, York,England; Paris, Marly-le-Roi, Nanterre, Nice, France Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Insel Riems, Landshut, Munich, Germany; Ehnen, Amsterdam, Haarlem, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Luxembourg City, Luxembourg; Beijing, Hong Kong, China; Dublin,Ireland; Bologna, Milan, Italy; Vaduz, Liechtenstein; Valetta, Malta; Cap Malheureux, Comber, Mauritius; Mexico City, Mexico; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Marrakesh, Morocco; Christchurch, New Zealand; Katowice, Poznan, Warsaw, Poland; Jeddah, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Scotland; Singapore; Barcelona, Mallorca, Spain; Stockholm, Sweden; Berne, Geneva, Uttwil, Zurich, Switzerland; Istanbul, Turkey; Albany, Austin, Boston, Broomfield, Chicago, Connecticut, Dallas, Hamptons, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Maryland, Miami, New York, Palm Beach, Rochester, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Washington DC,USA; Mombasa, Kenya; Lusaka, Zambia; Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Durban, George, Johannesburg, Knysna, Pretoria, Wilderness, South Africa.
Art Expo, New York 2015; Knysna 2015; Decorex, Johannesburg 2015; Art Basel, Miami 2016; World Art Dubai 2017; Art Expo, New York 2017 (Winner of the Spotlight Artist Award); Art Expo, Las Vegas 2018; Art Expo, New York 2018; Decorex, Johannesburg 2018; ADIHEX, Abu Dhabi 2018 and ADIHEX, Abu Dhabi 2019