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Redbridge artist wins thousands for work inspired by grandfather’s stroke

Dene Leigh with Stranger Than Fiction (Credit: Twitter / @DeneLeigh)

An artist from Redbridge has said winning thousands of pounds means he can focus on his work full-time.

31-year-old Dene Leigh creates paintings, sculptures and sketches which can take between minutes and months to complete.

Checkered Memories and An Unknown Person And Thing, oil paintings on linen (Credit: deneleigh.com) 

He told Time 107.5 he trawls through old family photographs and antique shops for material suitable for work on “the fragility of the human memory”.

He said he was inspired to focus on this area after his grandfather suffered a stroke.

“He had an inability to recognise familiar faces such as my own, an inability to communicate and understand language, and an inability to perceive and understand the function and the appearance of objects.

“I obscure faces in my work I invent my own kind of language and objects, combined with elements of decay and mortality.

“More recently my mum passed away, and so I’m combining these elements of human memory and trying to hold on to such memories visually.”

Dene Leigh’s artwork (Credit: deneleigh.com)

Mr Leigh said winning one of Space Studio’s bursaries worth £5,000 will “help a lot”.

“There are struggles with being an artist and part of that can be funding and having enough money to remain full-time, so of course the £5,000 will help significantly because I have no need to worry about materials, so it helps me to concentrate even more on my work.”

All 20 awardees will also receive 1-2-1 mentoring from a development team and a group session with renowned artist John Akomfrah.

“We haven’t begun that yet, but I’m looking forward to it,” added Mr Leigh.

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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