Painters 2015

Jürgen Leippert

It’s not a real festival without ‘The Duke’! His outgoing personality and robust frame have earned him this fitting island nickname. At the previous festival, his friends on the island gifted him with traditional African cane. It was engraved, ‘’The Duke.” Standing at the Peponi Hotel bar, with a margarita in hand, you can rely on The Duke to be covered in paint and steeped in tequila and triple sec! His torn shirt dancing in the wind, his contagious laughter and cigarette smoke drifting through the bar, he always spreads his joy for life. The Duke’s face bears the palette of his day and, with his sticky fingers, he marks every martini glass and the shirted shoulders of all his friends in Shela. A gluey, giddy mess, there is a certain ecstasy about Leippert, a delirious inspiring carpediem attitude.

“This is where all our roots are,” says Leippert about Kenya, “It is the true cradle of mankind.” Although Menzer had to convince Leippert to come to Kenya the first time, once the artist saw the beauty of Lamu, he was immediately addicted. But Leippert has no interest in cloning what he sees on the island. With unfettered strokes, amorphous forms, and viscous layers of oil paint, he paints the energy of a place. Leippert spent eight years painting on the streets of New York. The frantic street life, the watering holes, the dance clubs and VIP lounges, were inspiration for him. Painting in Rio de Janeiro, Vienna, Munich, Paris and Amsterdam, he has a way of taking the sensations at a site and converting them into form and color. A student of prominent German painter Alfred Lehmann, Leippert studied at the Berlin University of the Arts, where he concentrated on painting nudes.

From the Gallery Rose in Hamburg, festivals in the Netherlands, and exhibitions in the USA and Brazil, Jürgen Leippert’s artwork has found a wide international audience. He lives in Stuttgart, where last year, he had three exhibitions to celebrate his 70th birthday.