Video: Damian on his life, in his own words.
Born in Sheffield in 1963 to a Huguenot-Tinker-Traveller family. Attended Art School and was asked to leave. Persevered through to the Royal College of Art where he received an MA.
Damian Le Bas became a professional Artist, despite encouragement otherwise, and was wildly prolific with a long and brilliant career. He showed internationally and was recognised as a leading figure in Art Brut.
He used his Outsider's perspective to champion Roma and Traveller's Rights and fight for Roma representation through its own art biennale and Romani Embassy.
Damian Le Bas' work takes a fierce stance against the nationalism arising once again in Europe. His later projects highlight the immarginalisation of the Gypsy and Roma community. The installations he created with Delaine are a spectacular in their impact to communicate this message: The Gypsy is here to stay. We will not be silenced.
Rebellious, subversive, with a strong cultural identity, Damian's work shows the viewer his world, a beautiful, rich, Gypsy world, that beckons one to change their viewpoint. He is sharing Traveller's secrets to entice the viewer into learning more and embracing diversity. His art is full of magical symbols and cheeky phrases he coined himself, or appropriated from punk and soul songs.
See Major Works
ART BRUT / OUTSIDER ART
Damian Le Bas was one of the leading Art Brut/Outsider artists from the UK. His work was first championed by Monika Kinley who ran the Outsider Archive in South Lambeth Road, London, in the 1980s. He was also mentored and encouraged by George Melly, Jazz musician and authority on Art Brut Surrealism and DaDa.
Damian's work has been exhibited in many international art shows alongside the legends of Art Brut and Outsider Art such as Wolfli Darger and Carlo.
LIFE AS ART
Damian Le Bas met the beautiful British-Romany Artist Delaine at Art School and they were inseparable his entire life. She was his muse, enabler, collaborator in their joint projects. Together they created a movement giving the Roma people a voice through their art and advocacy.
Together they also created a lovely, brilliant son, Damian James Le Bas, author of The Stopping Places: A Journey through Gypsy Britain.
Damian Le Bas has exhibited extensively in major art galleries internationally – from Berlin to Tel Aviv to New York – as well as more obscure locations such as Tito's Bunker in Bosnia & Herzogovina.
He was one of the sixteen artists who were part of the First Roma Pavilion Paradise Lost at Venice Biennale 2007.
After advocating for Roma representation for almost 2 decades, Damian was the initiator of the 1st Roma Biennale in Berlin 2018.
To truly get a sense of Damian Le Bas' impact, one must go to Berlin, not his native Britain. Damian spent the past decade going back and forth between the UK and Europe, exhibiting profusely with Delaine, and working with the Gorki.
His work is on display inside and outside the theatre, as he was championed by its renowned Artistic Director, Shermin Langhoff. In Berlin, Damian created his very own 'Roma Army' led by Hamze Bytyci and co-guided by his wife, Delaine Le Bas. Major projects include the formation of the 1st Roma Biennale, the production of Roma Armee, and the traveling, on-site installation Safe European Home?
Raw Vision Special Souvenir 100th Issue. Raw Vision Magazine, December 2018.
Gypsyland: Retrospective of the Life Works of Outsider Artist Damian Le Bas. Edited by Delaine Le Bas. Catalogue, November 2018.
Illustrations for Roma Armee. Gorki #14 magazine.
The Third Edition Of The Project Biennal Of Contemporary Art D-0 Ark Underground 2015, bijenale.ba
Have A Look into My Life! Self-Representation Of Roma In Contemporary Art, drava.at
We Roma - A Critical Reader, Valz/BAK Utrecht
Copyright 2018 The Estate of Damian Le Bas. All Rights Reserved.