Leon Fernandes is a richly expressive visual artist with a deep interest in psychological and spiritual themes. From his longstanding series of hilly landscapes to his more recent embroideries, he challenges preconceptions about subject matter, colour, and media.
A self-taught artist with an atypical mind, his work has extraordinary emotional range; he investigates the world with a combination of brutal honesty, intellectual curiosity, and pure joy. Leon draws strongly on his mixed European and South Asian heritage, repurposing Catholic and Hindu iconography and fearlessly hybridising the sacred and the profane. His work is also informed by a solid background in community development, social justice and activism with a number of marginalised groups including people living with disabling mental distress, queer communities and illicit drug users. His depiction of Krishna smoking meth outside the Imperial Hotel (Krishna in Erskineville, 2017) provoked a heated public conversation about the role of art and artists in Australian culture.
Leon’s approach to canvas is just as unrestrained, using oils, acrylic, spray paint, machine embroidery, and found fabrics to produce richly textured and layered works.
He lives and works between Newtown, Sydney
and Coopers Shoot, in Northern New South Wales, Australia.