Born in Bieltzi, Moldavia, studied at the Kiev School of Arts and at the Odessa Art Institute.
Immigrated to Israel in 1990 and settled in Jerusalem.
Balaklav was known as a promising artist in Moldavia. in his early work in Russia, he sought to conduct a dialogue with the works of the great masters such as Caravaggio, Rembrandt and Repin.
The acme of Balaklav’s paintings is the self portraits; in these paintings, he puts himself into states of environmental pressure, one can feel the absent presence of the artist, it seems like he is fading in the nothingness around him.
“Leonid Balaklav acquired his reputation mainly in the 1990s, due to his tormented self-portraits. Later, came the portraits of family and friends, that revealed the painter’s enchantment with the local natural light, and there were still lives, and occasionally landscapes. But it seems that only now, once the ‘fence’ has been dismantled, the artist has the ability to confirm the world as achieving a balance between synthesis of inner and external worlds, that radiates physical and spiritual light, while projecting a feeling of goodness and blessing”
-Gideon Ofrat, Behind the Fence, 2010
1971-1973 Art School, Kiev
1974 Art Institute, Odessa.
Awards And Prizes
1987 Gold Medal, International Film Festival, Tokyo, Japan
1995 Jerusalem Prize for Painting and Sculpture
2001-2000, The Israel Discount Bank Prize for an Israeli Artist, Israel Museum, Jerusalem
2014 Haim Schiff Prize for Figurative-Realistic Art, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv