About Delaine

Biography

Born

1965

From a large English Romani Gypsy family in the South Coast of England

Worthing, UK

 

Art School

1981-1986

West Sussex College of Art & Design

Worthing, UK

University

1986-1988

MA in Fashion & Textiles

Central St Martins College of Art & Design

London, UK

Family

1984

Married husband Artist Damian Le Bas (deceased 2018)

1985

Son Poet/Writer Damian James Le Bas born

Lives in Worthing and the world.

Artist Profile

Delaine Le Bas deals with the body as a stolen artefact and her performances have taken place both inside gallery spaces and on the street. Clothing and its identifying significance is part of her everyday practice as an artist and this is continually documented in the works that she produces. Clothing along side her own hair have become part of her extensive installations that deal with issues of stereotyping, Her use of the body as a means of developing a dialogue about its place within the history of prejudice and racism. What it means to be the ‘outsider’ and the many forms that this takes in terms of ideas of beauty, sexuality, location and the ambiguity of who we are as individuals and how we can develop personas to conduct intensive development of ideas around what male or female means. What is the meaning of Feminism when you are a married, heterosexual female who loves her partner, has a child, is an independent artist, who dresses how she pleases, makes the art work she wants, and continually questions the status quo. This position is not the submissive female Gypsy stereotype and all of Delaine’s works questions what this is and who has made the rules historically regarding this and who are those who still wish to continue binding us by out dated modes of thinking with no authority other than their counted colonialist attitudes. Delaine sees part of her artistic practice to crack open the dialogue and see what ills it spills into the conversation of the ongoing Gypsy Roma Traveller debate.

– Isaac Blake for RomaniArts

Select Shows & Exhibitions

2019

Tutis A Rinkeni Moola, Abri..., solo show at Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix, London EC1

In the Forest of Grief I Grew like a Shrub of Gold for group show Orlando in the present time, Wolfson Gallery, Charleston, UK

 

 

2019

 

 

2019

 

 

2018

In the Forest of Grief I Grew like a Shrub of Gold for group show Orlando in the present time, Wolfson Gallery, Charleston, UK

House of Le Bas Gypsy Couture, ANTI: Athens Biennale 2018, Athens, Greece

Safe European Home? Worthing Museum, UK

1st Roma Biennale, Gorki Theater, Berlin, Germany

 

 

2017

Roma Armee, Gorki Theater, Berlin, Germany

Transgressing the Past, Shaping the Future, Eriac Art, Berlin

Still unresolved and very much ongoing (group), Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix, London

 

2016

Frontier De Luxe, Atelier21, Aachen, Germany

(Re)conceptualising Roma Resistance, Goethe-Institute, Prague, Czech Republic

Universal Hospitality (Into The City), Alte Post, Vienna, Austria

(Re)conceptualizing Roma Resistance, Hellerau, Dresden, Germany

Safe European Home? Art Exchange Essex University, Colchester, UK

Blake’s Outsiders, Worthing Museum & Art Gallery, Worthing, UK

 

 

2015

Safe European Home?
> RomAmor, Hellerau – Europäisches Zentrum der Künste, Dresden, Germany
> For Diasporas Babylonia Thessaloniki, Greece

Kushti Atchin Tan? – Ein guter Ort? Galerie Kai Dikhas, Berlin, Germany (solo)

The Invisible Faces Of Europe, Moderna Museet Malmö, Sweden

The Feast Wagon, The Tetley Leeds, UK

Under Erasure – Apects of Roma/Gipsy/Traveller Life In Europe, Gerlesborgsskolan Göteborg Biennial for Contemporary Art, Gerlesborg, Hamburg und Schweden

She’s Not Pop Art collaboration with George Mihai Vesilescu Muzeul Culturii, Romilor Bucharest, Romania

 

2015

Transmitting Trauma?, Galerie Kai Dikhas, Berlin, Germany

Inter Nation, Art A Group Show Of Contemporary Art HDLU, Zagreb, Croatia

Whose Nation? Re-imagined National Identities, Gallery8, Budapest, Hungary

Embodied Spaces Framer Framed, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

From Artificial Curiosities? To Art with Scott Benesiinaabandan and Tom Thomson, Gallery Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada

Say No to Identity Theft, Gallery8, Budapest, Ungarn für Off Biennale, Budapest, Hungary (solo)

Have A Look Into My Life!, Duplex 100m2, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Third Edition Of The Project Biennial Of Contemporary Art, D-0 Ark Underground, Titio’s Atomic War Command Bunker, Konjic, Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

2015

Have A Look Into My Life!, Duplex 100m2, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Third Edition Of The Project Biennial Of Contemporary Art D-0 Ark Underground, Titio’s Atomic War Command Bunker, Konjic, Bosnis and Herzegovina

Have A Look Into My Life! HALIML, Bucharest, Romania

Love & Loss LENTOS, Kunstmuseum Linz, Linz, Austria

Portrait Of The Artist with Tara Darby Huntergather, Shoreditch, London, UK

Basket Case II, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Africa

PH1 Artists, The New School House Gallery, York, UK

 

 

2014

Houses as Silver as Tents, Delaine Le Bas, Zacheta – Narodowa Galeria Sztuki, Warsaw, Poland

Sztuki, Warsaw,MWW – Wroclaw Contemporary Museum, Wroclaw Poland

Other Sisters, Delaine Le Bas & Iwona Zają City Gallery Gdansk

Unknown… Gypsies? Delaine Le Bas, Phoenix, Brighton, UK

The Power of Collaboration, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe

STOPPING PLACES IV, Galerie Kai Dikhas im Aufbau Haus, Berlin, Germany (group)

 

 

2013

To Gypsyland, Delaine Le Bas, Tramway, Glasgow, UK

Safe European Home? An Installation by Delaine & Damian Le Bas, .CHB Collegium Hungaricum Berlin, Berlin, Germany

 

 

2012

Gypsy Revolution, Delaine Le Bas & Damian Le Bas, Kaapelin Galleria, Helsinki, Finland

Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, South Korea

Gypsy Revolution U.K, Museum Of East Anglian Life, Suffolk, UK

O Brishindeskeriatar, The Cardiff Story, Cardiff, Wales (solo)

The Buccaneers, Stade Hall, Hastings, UK

Gypsy Revolution, Cable Gallery, Helsinki, Finland

Gypsy Revolution, Kalio Kunsthalle, Helsinki, Finland

 

 

2011

Reconsidering Roma – Aspects of Roma and Sinit Life in Contemporary Art, Kunstquartier, Kreuzberg, Berlin

Stopping Places, Galerie Kai Dikhas im Aufbau Haus, Berlin

Face To Face, Galerie DY’s, Brussels, Belgium

Safe European Home?, Into The City, Wiener Festwochen, Austria

Home: Fragile, Transient, Extraordinary, Loaded. Core Gallery, Deptford, London, UK

The World Turned Upside Down In The Cathedral Of Erotic Misery (After Kurt Schwitters), Latitude Contemporary Art, Lattitude, Suffolk, UK
http://youtube.com/watch?v=eQ53stZRBeY

Wir sind Bettler, Stadtmuseum Graz, Graz, Austria

Ministry of Education Warning: Segregation harms you and others around you. Prague, Czechoslovakia

Witch Hunt, Campbell Works, London (solo)

Chanctonbury Ravens Film
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAvcN58xE8Y

Witch Hunt, Galerie Kai Dikhas, Aufbau Haus, Berlin (solo)

 

 

2010

BigMinis – Fetishes of Crisis, CAPC, Bordeaux, France

Artblitz, Transition Gallery, London, UK

The World In A Few Steps,  Association For Contemporary Art,Graz, Austria

Witch Hunt, Context, Derry, Ireland (solo)

Stardust Boogie Woogie, A Monika Bobinska Project, London

Whose Map Is It? New Mapping By Artists, INIVA, London

Inside, Outside and The Spaces In Between, Kuntstraum Next Andra,
Graz, Austria

Foreigners Everywhere with Claire Fontaine, Karl Holmqvist, Stephan Dillemuth and Damian Le Bas, T293, Naples, Italy

If Not Now, Trafo Gallery, Budapest, Hungary

Prognostic Bridewell, A.P.T, Deptford, London

Witch Hunt, Chapter, Cardiff, Wales (solo)
http://www.a-n.co.uk/interface/reviews/single/617995

Sur Le Fil, Musee International Des Arts Modestes, Sete, France

 

 

2009

Foreigners Everywhere, with Claire Fontaine, Karl Holmquist and Damian Le Bas, D’vir Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Sur Le Fil, La Maison Folie Wazemmes, Lille, France

Folk Magic and Curious Objects, Barristers Gallery, New Orleans, USA

Witch Hunt, ASPEX, Portsmouth, UK (solo)

Living Together, MARCO, Museo de Arte Contempornea de Vigo, Vigo, Spain

Living Together, Montehermoso, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain

 

 

Select Press Coverage

The Traveller'sTimes

27 Oct 2017

Delaine Le Bas – ‘a strange and interesting journey’

Article:

Delaine Le Bas is a graduate of the influential Saint Martin’s School of Art, and a Traveller and anti-racism campaigner. The Travellers’ Times caught up with her at the Tetley Art Gallery in Leeds earlier this year where she was helping to launch the Leeds GATE ‘Feet on the Ground’ project with a performance artwork and installation called ‘On the Reservation’. Delaine told us about her “strange and interesting journey” to becoming an important and recognised professional artist.

“It’s been a strange and interesting journey. I was really interested in fashion and clothing, that’s why I went to art school, but I ended up being an artist, although clothing and costuming is also part of what I do as well,” says Delaine.

The eldest daughter out of five brothers and sisters, Delaine was the one that liked going to school.

“I actually liked going to school which was difficult because I am the only one out of five of us that finished school. And then I had ideas about going to Art College.” says Delaine. It was at art school that Delaine met her husband – also a Traveller – an event that Delaine describes as akin to “winning the lottery.”

Delaine says her art is about identity and politics. “Feminism is in there as well,” she says. “It’s also about racism and the different forms that takes, how complex it is, and about where different people stand in society. It’s all wrapped up together and very often a lot of what I am doing has got all of those themes in it.”

The theme of racism and identity is palpable in the short piece of performance art she performs in her pavilion tent outside the Tetley Gallery. During the performance, Delaine puts on her artificial ‘face’ - using thick stage make up - with which she then has to confront the outside world with her true identity hidden.

“I got to be honest, until I started school I was completely sheltered from how racist people can be,” says Delaine.

“When I started school that’s when it started. It was hard and it wasn’t only the other kids it was the teachers as well and it didn’t stop. So I had to be quite determined when I went in and I was just going to get on with it. I don’t agree with any form of racism because I feel that it has a massive impact on people and I think some people find it really difficult to cope with it and some never get over it.”

Delaine has a message to all young Gypsies and Travellers who want to become artists or work in other professions like “academics, political stuff, art, and music.”

“I think sometimes you have to know that you can jump in and you can swim and it will be alright,” says Delaine.

“Put yourself forward – we need more people,” she laughs.

 

Read Article:

https://www.travellerstimes.org.uk/features/delaine-le-bas-strange-and-interesting-journey

 

 

PH1

2014

Delaine, Damian and Damian James Le Bas

Article:

Grace in Thy Sight

The Le Bas family are British artists of Romany descent. Husband and wife team, Delaine and Damian, conceived of Safe European Home? in 2010. The project has widely travelled and developed in many places, taking on a different form wherever it may be; always made from existing materials at the locations with the exterior and interior then worked across as one ‘collage canvas’.

Delaine and Damian Le Bas are often joined by their son Damian James, being involved with translations in various languages and with the programme of events that usually accompanies the project. In 2011 it was constructed outside the parliament building in Vienna and has since been constructed in 3 different locations in Berlin including the exhibition Safe European Home? Past, Present, Future…. at Galerie Kai Dikhas in 2013. Copenhagen and Dublin with further venues planned for the future.

Delaine’s work moves expansively from a unique series of thematic departures including nationhood, race, gender and relationships. These issues are explored through freely combined media. Embroidery, painting and decoupage/”femmage” interact with sculpture and installations that reflect domestic claustrophobia, the transient nature of modern materiality and the tensions that characterise Le Bas’ own experience as a Gypsy. (source Wikipedia)

Born to Damian (Snr) and Delaine Le Bas and raised in a traditional Roma gypsy way, Damian James’ culture and upbringing influences the basis of his written work.  Damian studied Theology at Oxford University and his passion is creating poetry in both English and Romani. Today his works span all conceivable forms; articles, radio plays, poetry, prose, film and he has been published by Magma, The Times Literary Supplement and The Junket. Damian has performed across the country and been commissioned for work by Arts Council England to support the touring project ‘To Gypsyland’.

Read Article:

PH1. Grace in Thy Sight: The Le Bas Family

 

Wonderland Magazine

February 2010

Delaine Le Bas
by Ben Cobb

Excerpt:

2007 was a big year for Romani art. And for Delaine Le Bas. She was part of Venice Biennale’s first Roma Pavilion, which housed an international collection of Romani Gypsy work entitled Paradise Lost. Now with a solo show in Berlin, she tells Ben Cobb, “I just want to be seen as an artist.”

With its pebbled beach, 19th Century pier and Formica cafes, Worthing is a very English kind of seaside town. It may not sound the likeliest location for a rising star of Romani art but this is where artist Delaine Le Bas was born and lives with her husband Damian, an artist of Irish Traveller extraction, in a small end-of-terrace house. Looking at Le Bas’ magpie-like work – her intricate embroidery covered in badges, patches and sequins, and her installation pieces made up of dolls and ornaments – this quiet West Sussex spot, with its heavy quotient of charity shops and abundance of weekend car boot sales, is perhaps the ideal base.

“My work is a bricollage of disregarded objects and everyday materials,” 42-year-old Le Bas explains. “I’m constantly collecting. I’d like to think of myself as an archivist but I’m probably just a hoarder. There are massive storage problems at my house because I can never throw any of it out. Luckily my parents have some stables so I keep some stuff there and over at my Nan’s. That’s the advantage of having my family around me in Worthing.”

It is this bygone era of Gypsies, rather than its modern incarnation, that has had the biggest impact on Le Bas’ art: “I have really strong memories of all the colours and patterns inside those zebra trailers and of my great Uncles who were big characters and completely wild, in particular Alfie who used to fight at fairgrounds for money. I put a modern twist on that older generation in some of my work.”

The drastic change in Romani life over the last 30 years, from a life-on-the-road to a more housebound existence, has meant that many younger Romanies, Le Bas included, feel forced to justify their credentials. “My background is quite a hard thing to explain to people because most people have a lot of preconceived ideas about Gypsies,” she believes. “The problem is that generally people hold two stereotypes at the same time. One is of the villain, the idea that Gypsies are always up to no good. The other is a really romanticised notion of barefooted women with floating black hair, running around a field banging a tambourine. If you don’t fit either of those stereotypes, which I definitely don’t, people aren’t sure who you are and if you are what you say you are.” Studying fashion and textiles at St. Martins from 1986-88 doesn’t help either. “If you go to college people think you can’t be a Gypsy because Gypsies are completely uneducated,” she shrugs. “It’s an odd position to be in.”

 

Read Full Article:

Delaine Le Bas

 

Lovely Miss Elvis

27 August 2009

Delaine Le Bas

Excerpt:

The work of Delaine Le Bas has haunted me for some time now. It is vigorous and frenetic, urgent, direct and unapologetic. At times it is dark and disturbing, but then there are flashes of pure childish joy. These two qualities play together through her work like children toppling through emotions, joyous then suddenly nasty, jokes that go too far, games which end in tears. Of course I was initially drawn to her use of textiles, but the work is so broad. Installations are frequently claustrophobic, crammed with kitsch, with clutter, a mesh of work, life, history and emotion. There is no separation between paint, objects, stitching and writing - it seems that all elements are a part of each other, every edge is blurred yet so many edges are jagged.

Gynaikonitides is a work that references Greek mythology. Roughly translated, it means 'women's quarters'. In the 5th or 6th century BC Greek homes were split into two and (naturally!) the men had the best quarters. This piece references the tale of Philomela. The tale is of course a tragedy, of heartbreaking loss of innocence, of violence and gruesome acts. Revenge is finally taken and tragically the life of a baby boy is lost. This installation is a narrow room, strewn with balloons and drawings, leading to a child's cot. Webs or strings hang from the ceiling, falling across your face making you want to push them away whist at the same time compelling you to move further in and look at the detail. This is claustrophobic, yet the strings are flimsy and weak, evoking threads of time and history, neglect and intrigue. What happened to the child in the cot, was the mother forced to an act of cruelty? Who by? Who to..? The birds are singing, some find it restful, others find it menacing.. what is their significance? In the tale of Philomela the characters were eventually turned to birds but were they ever free or were they forever tangled in the webs and strings of their behaviour? Childish balloons feel foreboding. Dolls are taped, restricted, trapped. Does this relate to the innocent life that was lost or do they refer to the child that was killed - an innocent child cruelly taken.

In the piece The House of the Juju Queen, I feel more claustrophobia, a recurrent theme in Le Bas’ work. The emblems and motifs here are childish, simplistic, often cheap and tacky ornaments, which bring to mind a person’s history from childhood to the tokens they (we) collect throughout and hold onto for the emotions we imbue them with. It has a bride as the central figure, masked and hidden as she purveys her reflection, which is the one thing missing from the cluttered setting. Is this speaking of sadness or of mystery? She sits like an innocent at an altar, faceless but for an animal mask, shrouding her humanity and making her….what? Shy? Brutish? Scarred? Mysterious? The Juju House was a West African house of superstition, a place full of entities, of witchcraft and magic. What I really love about this piece is the same mist of superstition and mystery yet the familiarity of the tokens and memento’s. Each doll, each ornament or scrap of fabric speaks of a whole history of a whole identity and generations of stories and experience.

 

Read Full Article:

http://lovelytextiles.blogspot.co.uk/2009/08/delaine-le-bas.html

 

AxisWeb

May 2008

Open Frequency 2008: Delaine Le Bas
by Cathy Lomax

Review:

Delaine Le Bas's magpie practice encompasses painting, sculpture, film, embroidery, installation and well just about everything else in a crazy mixed media bricolage. Her Romany background is apparent in every flourish and twist but is never a forced point, integrating effortlessly within the fabric of her installations.

Her work often has a very hard and sinister edge, unearthing uncomfortable truths and featuring troubling imagery. She uses cute fairy tale-ish motifs such as a skipping lamb and a sweet looking girl but these are then juxtaposed with monstrously over garish embroidered flowers, scrawled obscenities, sequinned skull and cross bones and a cornucopia of other images in a hellish hallucinatory landscape. Her installations are often positioned in small rooms or enclosed spaces and again the little girl appears this time manifested as a sinister child mannequin with a Union Jack hood conjuring up images of the dwarf murderer in Nicolas Roeg's film 'Don't Look Now'.

One of Delaine's most poignant series of works was her 'Rubbish Dolls'. These were made in 2005 when there was an ongoing NIMBY news story about Gypsies and The Sun famously led with the headline 'Meet Your Neighbours' and an image of a rubbish strewn caravan site. The Rubbish Dolls are assembled using cheap plastic doll faces around which is twisted a black bin liner to create a rudimentary body. In Delaine's show 'Room' at Transition Gallery in 2005 one of the dolls was fixed on to a small circular canvas featuring psychedelic flowers and a mock Tudor house while others were left scattered in the corner of the gallery, like any pile of rubbish.

Le Bas's work has an intrinsic honesty to it which is at odds with much current contemporary art practice. She has not invented a persona or cobbled together the real with the fictional. Her art is real life and much of her inspiration is from direct experience. This has often unfairly categorised her as an Outsider artist despite the fact that she attended art college and is very knowledgeable about contemporary art. 'All I can do is my work, to address all this bullshit about stereotypes. But I do have to address it.' She wrote in a correspondence with the artist Alex Michon in 2005, 'I'm painting, embroidering, drawing and going crazy with it. It's like a huge traffic jam in my head and I can't move it and work fast enough to clear it but I'm trying.' Her 2007 appearance in the first Romany pavilion at the Venice Biennale has led to wider recognition and although her background is very important her work is now being noticed in its own right.

 

Read More:

https://www.axisweb.org/archive/profile/open-frequency/delaine-le-bas-2008/

 

The Guardian

Outsider Dealing
by Sue Steward

29 Oct 2000

Excerpt:

...the work of Damian and Delaine LeBas. Some artists...resent the label Outsider, but Damian LeBas, who comes from a line of tinker families based around Sheffield, has always felt like an outsider. The fact that both he and his wife went to art school - they studied fashion and textiles - would appear to disqualify them from the Outsider clan, but their art was never consistent with college rules. Today, Damian and Delaine who comes from a large south-coast Roma-gypsy family are the glamorous couple on the Outsider network, but their everyday life brings them abuse and insults for the way they look and live. Their home in Worthing is filled with gnomes and Elvis memorabilia, Damian's obsessive football collections and crazy paintings and Delaine's gypsy art and fabric collection.

Damian LeBas made waves during his time at the Royal College of Art, where he would draw the tattoos on builders' arms rather than classic designs on Greek ceramics during museum outings, and embroider denim jackets with sequinned abstract designs while other students created curtain fabrics. Drawing was an early escape route from a disturbed childhood, 'I started drawing football crowds when I was six,' he remembers. 'I was fascinated by the patterns and colours,' he says. Cats are a lifelong obsession. Some years ago, he produced dozens of cat paintings with acid-hell Catherine-wheel eyes, drawn with clashing bright pencils and oil pastels. 'I did about 10 a day,' he recalls, 'so many, I thought I was turning into a cat, because I'm so hairy. I got very paranoid.'

Delaine LeBas could have been many things in life - fashion model, designer, artist. Her startling beauty and highly personal dress style has some of the kitsch beauty of the fairground. An early work called Me and my husband shows Delaine in a yellow, rose-covered jacket and flouncing tiered skirt, and Damian in soul boy's baggies and braces. They are standing in front of a caravan window and framed by floral designs which look like embroidery. Her gypsy background informs everything she does. 'My mum and dad always dressed me in strange, bizarre things - two-tone shoes, coats covered in tapestry, fancy things. But I'm glad for it. I'm an eternal child. I never make plans or drawings, it is all spontaneous.'

Being an Outsider is not something Delaine considers relevant in her work. 'The art world is incredibly conservative. It's difficult for me to work in it because of what I am and where I come from, what I look like. I thought it was supposed to be about interesting people, fantastic things, but they ignore people like me.' For Delaine LeBas, the Outsider world is like family, just a collection of eccentric people ploughing their own route through life, and having fun on the way.

 

Full Article:

https://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/2000/oct/29/life1.lifemagazine4