Robert Oscar Lenkiewicz was one of South West England’s most celebrated artists of modern times. Perennially unfashionable in high art circles, his work was nevertheless popular with the public. He produced more than 10,000 works, usually on a large scale, and in themed projects investigating hidden communities (Vagrancy 1973, Mental Handicap 1976) or difficult social issues.
He first came to public attention when the media highlighted his giant mural man on Plymouth’s Barbican in the 1970s. Another furore occurred in 1981 when he faked his own death in preparation for the forthcoming project of paintings on the theme of death (1982): “I could not know what it was like to be dead,” said the artist, “but I could discover what it was like to be thought dead.”