Gilbert Leu was born in Lausanne, Switzerland on June 26, 1929. It was in his boyhood that he developed a voracious appetite for drawing and painting, subjects in which his teachers singled him out at school. But as with most children prone to distraction, Gilbert had many other hobbies, like photography and sports, for which he never seemed to find enough time.
However, life's greater priorities as viewed by the strict Swiss educational system necessitated more practical undertakings. Gilbert learned a profession, as duty called, obtaining a string of engineering degrees from universities in Switzerland and the United States. He found himself speaking more alien languages than his native tongue, and proceeded to work as a consultant in electronics research. Many years went by. Then, at one point amongst it all he arrived, inevitably or so he thought, at the decision to set himself "free" -to do what he really wanted to do.
It was then, in Gilbert's late 40s, that he picked up the brush again, but this time in all seriousness. He had already settled down in Thailand with his wife, a former air hostess whom he had met in 1965 in Hong Kong during his world travels.
The mystic East fascinated Gilbert and set his Western impulses tingling. He thought he should have been born out here; felt incredibly attuned to this part of the world. All the artistic passion and aspirations of old that he had believed were gone, buried beneath jaded business jargon, came back in a consuming flood. He felt reborn, rediscovered. He would do everything he had dreamed of earlier in his life.
Gilbert's particular interest in Tankhas and in the representation of the cosmic universe was magnified with the encounter and study of the various Buddhist arts and disciplines, now readily accessible to him at his very doorstep. At the same time, the spiritual pursuit triggered memories of the serene mountain sceneries of his native land, which he had experienced in his youthful mountain-climbing days.
For the first five years, Gilbert participated in several art exhibitions in Bangkok with some of his first creations, which he was very hesitant to sell. After some success he got used to the fact of having to part from his elaborate paintings, each of many weeks of work.
As a completely self-trained and self-styled artist, Gilbert embarked in 1982 on his first one-man show. Now after six such shows he is filled with a mixture of deep relief and pride. It has taken quite some time, but of this Gilbert is convinced: one can be happiest only with what one truly enjoys, and if that happiness comes with success, then it is the reward of worthwhile toil.
1977 Viboon Art School, Siam Intercontinental Hotel,
Private Collections :
- Paul Sitthi Amnuay (3)
- Hans R. Kiesinger
- M.L. Bhirapong Kasemsri
- Ayman Sawaf (3)
- Roland Eggli
- William L. Hallinan