This film is part of Free

Lenkiewicz and the Leaves were Full of Children

Lenkiewicz is filmed talking about his projects.

News 1982 5 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


Robert Lenkiewicz created themed Projects investigating what he termed the invisible people or social outsiders. His sociological themes of vagrancy, mental handicap, suicide, old age and death and relational themes of love, jealousy, sexual behaviours and obsession. He made notes, drawings and paintings recording the physiological manifestation of social or personal relationships. The Lenkiewicz Foundation administers the artist’s legacy.

Lenkiewicz faked his death for the Death Project evading media interest by staying at the stately home of his friend Peregrine Eliot, the tenth Earl of St Germans. “I could not know what it was like to be dead, but I could discover what it was like to be thought dead.” After his actual death in 2002, the embalmed corpse of a tramp Edwin McKenzie known as Diogenes was discovered. Lenkiewicz jokingly promised ‘to keep his body as a paperweight’ after death. In fact, the ‘artefact’ formed one compelling part of the painter’s observations on the theme of death, from the personal testimonies of terminally ill sitters to the unimaginable scale of genocide.