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Fanner, Leila

Leila Fanner is a painter, illustrator and surface pattern designer. Born in California to a South African artist and an African American musician, she was raised in South Africa and currently works from her studio in Riebeek West.

Leila is both a figurative and an abstract painter. Her creative inspiration is interwoven with dreams and personal dream symbols. Using the natural world as her subject, she explores her relationship with the material realm from both a metaphysical and spiritual viewpoint.

 "The most important focus, as I work, becomes the vibrational quality of my thoughts and feelings during the creative process. I always want to create from the place of the purest emotions of love and enthusiasm. It is all too easy to fall into mediocre or even negative and painful thoughts as one works because art creation is cathartic.

Deep solitude brings up all types of memories and emotions. It is a discipline akin to meditation, to keep one's focus clear, honest and joyful. This is the unseen 'art' that comes with each piece and is what someone has resonated with and also received when they own a work of art.
My subject matter is most often South African flora inspired - abstracts as well as figurative representations of the dream world.
Before I start working, I see completed pieces in my mind. An entire series can sometimes appear - with all its permutations and in full colour. Life then becomes an exciting dance between bringing this vision to life, getting enough rest, nourishing my body and feeding my soul."

After her studies at the Johannesburg National School of the Arts, she took private tuition in both graphic design and watercolour painting, holding her first exhibition 'Faux Masters' at the age of 23.

Her work has appeared in British Vogue Gallery 2015. Her most recent exhibitions were 'Solo Studio's' in the Riebeek Valley in July 2016 and 'Unify' at Aity Gallery in Franschhoek in September 2106.

Leila’s art is in private collections in South Africa, Germany, France, Kenya, England and the USA.


  • First exhibition 'Faux Masters' miniature watercolours exhibition,Mpumalanga - 1993.
  • Watercolour studies - Baghdad Café Art Fair exhibited 1992-5.
  • African Ochre Stills series exhibited at a joint exhibition at Casterbridge in 1998.
  • Abstract Art Exhibition’s in the Cape Quarter - 2006 and 2007.
  • SUPERWOMEN -  1st Solo, mixed media portraits, Kunsthouse, Cape Town - 2008
  • 40 Dorp Street Gallery Exhibition - 2009
  • Lovell Gallery - Pieces and Puzzles Exhibition - September 2013
  • Art in The Yard Exhibition - Franschoek  - November 2013
  • CAPE TOWN ART FAIR - AITY -  group show
  • Skullduggery, The Studio, Kalkbay, July 2014
  • Claudia's Wall Exhibition, Riebeek Kasteel, May 2015
  • 'KINGDOM' group show - Equus gallery, Cavalli Estate, September 2015
  • 'Aeipathy' - Cavalli Gallery, February 2016
  • 'Solo Studio's' - Riebeek Kasteel, July 2016
  • 'Unify' - Art In The Yard, September 2016
  • 'KINGDOM' group show - Cavalli, September 2016

'Flowers In Art' - The Castle of Good Hope, October 2016