Whitechapel Gallery London
24 January – 4 June 2023
‘We are stolen artefacts, physically, mentally, artistically. Even today we are still seen and contextualised by everyone else but ourselves… Artistically I continue to question this’ – Delaine Le Bas
Part installation and part archive display, the objects of House of Le Bas relate to the shared life and experiences of artists Delaine Le Bas (b.1965, UK) and her late husband Damian Le Bas (1963 – 2017, UK) and their perspective as English Romani Gypsy Travellers.
Running through a diverse range of media, artwork, journals, photographs, embroidery and a record collection are stories that resist stereotypes and question what it means to be an ‘outsider’. A centrepiece of these diverse materials, Delaine Le Bas’ painting Meet Your Neighbours – (Engrained) Woven Into The Fabric Of Our Society (2005) portrays both artists alongside stitched and collaged items of personal significance. The work incorporates texts and headlines into the artwork that relates to the two artists’ experiences of policies and attitudes hostile to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in the UK.
Delaine Le Bas will activate items from the exhibition on selected dates. The House of Le Bas will be accompanied by Soul Bag, an event taking place on 16 March celebrating the work of the two artists through an evening of Soul music, dancing and journeys into the archive.
To accompany The House of Le Bas, artist Delaine Le Bas has selected tracks inspired by the display and her practice, listen on Spotify here.
Delaine Le Bas (b. 1965 in Worthing, UK) explores themes of identity, gender and belonging through a wide range of media, including textiles, performance, film and painting. She completed an MA in Fashion & Textiles at Central St Martins College of Art & Design, London in the 1980s. Since then she has exhibited extensively both in the UK and internationally, notably at The Worm, Aberdeen (2022), Worthing Museum and Art Gallery (2021), Harbstsalon, Maxim Gorki Theatre, Berlin (2019, 2017), ANTI Athens Biennale, Athens (2018), Transmission, Glasgow (2018), Bolton Museum and Art Gallery, Bolton (2014), Phoenix, Brighton (2014), Chapter, Cardiff (2010). She has also featured in numerous biennials and festivals, including the 11th Berlin Biennale (2020) and the Roma Pavilion at the 2007 and 2019 editions of the Venice Biennale. In 2023, Delaine Le Bas will be the subject of a solo exhibition at Secession, Vienna.
Damian Le Bas (b. 1963, Sheffield, UK; d. 2017, Worthing, UK) established a diverse practice across textile, collage, painting and performance, consistently resisting stereotype and categorisation. After completing an MA at The Royal College of Art, London, he exhibited at venues including Galerie Kai Dikhas, Berlin (2016), Kunstahalle Kallio, Helsinki (2012), the Venice Biennale (2007) and the Prague Biennale (2007). He collaborated with Delaine Le Bas to create Safe European Home?, a series of installations exhibited across Europe since 2011 that explore identity, migration and borders. Challenging stereotypes and marginalisation, he initiated the Roma Biennale dedicated to art of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities which came to fruition posthumously in Berlin in 2018. In 2022, his work featured in RomaMoMA at documenta 15, Kassel.