G Y P S Y L A N D
“Gypsy Europa is my dream, just like Martin Luther King’s dream. My maps are a subversive imaginary conquest, a Roma resistance against racism and right wing propaganda. I cannot read and write very well so my art is my voice and weapon for my Roma resistance. We Roma need to stop splitting hairs about our differences and start to celebrate what we have in common. The hunt is on and we are the prey, Eastern and Western Europe have a history of Genocide, it happened again in the Balkans in our recent history.”
– Damian Le Bas
Retrospective of the Life Works of Damian Le Bas
The catalogue GYPSYLAND documents the retrospective of Damian Le Bas’ life work shown at Gorki on the occasion of the 1st Roma Biennale COME OUT NOW! last April. A world that has "no limitations, not confined by boundaries and borders, fluid in ideas, positive in enabling abilities, taking the negatives and making them positives." (Delaine Le Bas).
Edited by Delaine Le Bas
Published by RomaTrial
Berlin, November 2018
“Damian created a Gypsyland that has no limitations, not confined by boundaries or borders, fluid in ideas, positive in enabling abilities, taking the negatives and making them positives.”
– Delaine Le Bas
"The Roma Stars are out tonight just as you saw them in your works over so many years, across the universe, across shipping charts, across maps, across globes.
The Cyphers, the symbols are all there in your work, the truth was there all the time for everyone to see, for everyone to believe, you had the endless patience to pursue the ideas to speak to everyone about what you saw possible. You believed the possibilities were endless, infinite like the stars."
Delaine Le Bas
excerpt from A Letter to Damian
“...is POLITIC & PLAYFUL, speaks POLYPHONIC, is RADICALLY DIVERSE. It is UNDERNATIONAL, full of LOVE & LIFE. Damian, your GYPSYLAND is our UTOPIA!”
Damian created his own Gypsyland through his art.
He mapped out the Romany Empire "conquest" through his maps and collages. His passion drove a Roma Army for a multi-national "art attack" to expand the mind and the territories. He advocated for Roma rights and representation through his prolific and joyful work. He decorated every inanimate object required for a magical dwelling, as he decorated himself with magical symbols and words. He created the Gypsy soundtrack (Northern Soul) and the fashions (with Delaine, of course). Damian imagined a wonderful, welcoming Gypsy World right down to a Gypsies Heaven.
His was a lifelong struggle for identity and recognition, not only for himself but for all Outsiders.
Photo courtesy of Andrea Trapani of the Art Brut Gallery.
Goodbye my Love
I'm off to the Gypsy Heaven in Space
Made by Tinkers, Huganoats and Gypsys Souls.
Hardship in life hopefully replaced by Tranquility in death.
My heart is singing old Tinker tunes like the Cornish coves used to do.
New friends are Silver and the old ones Gold.
Huganoat Gold and luck where ever you go to my friend.
He tried to live a good life but his Soul was all ready gone to Devilsland.
For more meat on your spare ribs go to the Chinese take away
Top notch grub
Somebody help him
He's got into a mess with his Love Life.
Oh no he's got Crabs
GOD BLESS ALL THE HUGANOTS TINKERS GYPSIES AND ALL DIFFERENT TRAVELLERS
– Damian Le Bas, 1999
Copyright 2018 The Estate of Damian Le Bas. All Rights Reserved.