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 works in Russia, he sought to conduct a dialogue with the works of the great masters such as Caravaggio, Rembrandt and Repin.
"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)
1987 - Gold Medal at the International Film Festival, Tokyo
1995 - Jerusalem Prize for painting and sculpture, Jerusalem
2002 - Israel Discount Bank Israel Museum Prize for an Israeli Artist
2010 – Shiff Prize for Figurative Realist Art, Tel-Aviv