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Delaine Le Bas

Venue: daadgalerie

Delaine Le Bas

Born 1965 in Worthing, UK – lives and works in Worthing

The verb “gyp,” a derivation of “gypsy,” means to cheat or swindle. Its derogatory implications reflect a reality in which nomadic existence is seen as a threat to the social order and its institutions. Nurtured by the experience and vocabulary of the Roma, Delaine Le Bas (with her partner Damian Le Bas, who died in 2017) has engaged in a lifelong practice of artistic resistance. Her work deconstructs the norms, histories, and language that have historically been instrumentalized to exclude and criminalize Roma communities in the UK and beyond. Found objects, drawings, textiles, photographs, sound, performances, and film footage are melded together in Le Bas’ environments, which draw from her personal history, life experience, and dreamspace.

For the new work commissioned by the 11th Berlin Biennial, Le Bas produces a new identity and a “living sculpture” that borrows from the past to serve the future in the fight against oppression: the figure of St Sara Kali George. This protector of undetermined sexuality merges two patron saints of the Roma people, Saint George and Sara Kali—figures that resonate across disparate geographies extending from Afro-Brazilian traditions to Hindu narratives. This new, myth-busting entity is empowered by centuries of living knowledge that has survived the categorizing grid of the capitalist everyday. On view are St Sara Kali George costumes. Made from traditional and nontraditional components, they deconstruct histories and stereotypes, and embody a new history, a new body, a new being. Le Bas has described clothing as “an activator”—especially when it does not fit the status quo—and the identity of St Sara Kali George as “armor.” Her work inspires us to claim and enact these kinds of protective powers.

Övül Ö. Durmusoglu


Download the St Sara Kali George here. A second zine will be published with the works that will be shown at Worthing Museum & Art Gallery, Worthing, West Sussex UK in 2021.



Animation Laszlo Farkas
Soundscape Justin Langlands

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