Leila Fanner

Date:01 August, 2017

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Leila Fanner is a painter, illustrator and surface pattern designer. Born 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 an abstract and figurative painter. Her creative inspiration is directly related to spiritual 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.

After her studies at the Johannesburg National School of Art, Ballet, Drama and Music, she trained in both graphic design and water-colour painting, holding her first exhibition in 1993 at the age of 23.

Her work has appeared in British Vogue Gallery 2015. Her most recent exhibitions were held at GalleryOne11 and Eclectica Art Gallery in Cape Town. Her current exhibitions are on going at Aity Gallery and The Boutique Gallery in Franschoek, The RK Contemporary in her home town of Riebeek Kasteel, as well as the Daniel Kok Gallery in Hermanus.

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

Her art training has been mostly informal. Being raised within the artistic atmosphere of a highly creative and intellectual family, her biggest influences and her education into the world of art came via her exposure to all things creative and philosophical during her formative years. In terms of application, choice of mediums and skill, these developed as a result of a continuous quest for experiential learning.


She explores 3-dimensional works with illustrated cut-out sculpture, creating products for retail as well as collaborating with craft artists in other disciplines eg embroidery designs for homeware, design and illustration for ceramic and paper products.



  1. 1600, from Middle French enthousiasme(16c.) and directly from Late Latin enthusiasmus, from Greek enthousiasmos “to be inspired or possessed by God, be rapt, be in ecstasy,” from entheos “divinely inspired, possessed by God”

” The dominant focus as I work is the quality of my thoughts and the connection to positive emotion during the creative process. I always want to create from a place of inspired action or enthusiasm. It is very easy to fall into mediocre or even negative and painful thoughts as one works, because art creation is a deeply cathartic experience.

Solitude also evokes deeply held memories and emotions. It’s a discipline similar to meditation; keeping the focus clear, honest and joyful. This is the unseen ‘art’ that comes with each piece of work.
My subject matter is either figurative or abstract representations of the ‘dream or unseen’ world filled with versions of South African flora and fauna.’



First Solo Exhibition in Cape Town: ‘Superwomen’ was held at the Kunsthouse Gallery in Kloof Street, Cape Town in 2008. Covered by Media 24 and local news media in Cape Town.