The performance "Tales from the House" by Delaine Le Bass took place at MSU

Performance of British artist Delaine Le Bass at MSU

On February 1, the Museum of Contemporary Art - Skopje hosted the British artist Delaine Le Bass, who performed a performance in which she presented the essence of her artistic creation to the present audience.

The visit of the British artist Delaine Le Bas in Skopje was primarily related to her three works presented within the group exhibition "Everything we have in common" in the Museum of Contemporary Art (MSU) - Skopje, which was realized within the framework of the project "Manifesta 14, Pristina - Western Balkans". The curators of the exhibition are Mustafa Asan, Mo Diener, Mira Gaqina and Jovanka Popova, and it can be visited until February 20.

Delaine Le Bass is a British cross-disciplinary artist who creates installations, performances, photographs and films. She is one of the sixteen artists who are part of "Paradise Lost", the First Roma Pavilion at the Venice Biennale since 2007.

The performance she performed in Skopje refers to her artistic practice presented through the project "Stories from the House of Le Bass". Easily guiding the audience through the gallery, Le Bas subtly revealed details of her life's journey, but also revealed the symbolism of the details in her works.

At the meeting after the performance, Le Bass explained to us that the text she read at the performance was written based on her impressions after arriving in Macedonia, and was conceived as a dialogue with the works presented at the exhibition.

Meeting with Delaine Le Bass before her works at MSU

In addition to the works of other authors, three of her creations are presented at the exhibition. The larger work is entitled "Universal Declaration of Human Rights", while the two smaller works are pictographically created on silk. The story in the works shows the complexity of her life in Great Britain as an artist of Roma origin.

She was born in a small town near Brighton, but often felt like an outsider in her own country. This is how the inspiration for social engagement through art appeared.

- I have always had a social engagement in my works and I have always wanted to make contacts with people. I don't just want to appear somewhere and then disappear, but I want to create deeper relationships with the environment. Although I am here for the first time, I would like to come again for a longer period so that I can make real contact with people and understand the essence of living here - Delaine Le Bass explained to us.

Romani culture is present in her works for the simple reason that she is also a Romani from England and practically expresses her life through her works. When she went to other countries, she tried to gain experiences about the life of "her people" in different conditions from her own, and she never went anywhere as a tourist to see landscapes, but always wanted to discover different experiences. One of the reasons why she would like to come here again is that she already knows that a large Roma community lives in Macedonia.

Regarding the reception of her art around the world, she explained to us that she always wants to present herself in different ways, always wants to talk to the visitors of her exhibitions and, perhaps, discover new ways of seeing her own works. That is why the most present form in her exhibitions are performances.

Regarding the work entitled "Universal Declaration of Human Rights", on which Mickey Mouse was drawn, she explained to us that all the children in the world know who Mickey Mouse is, and what Disney or Disneyland is, but what she is fighting for through their art is that it is much more important that they know the Declaration of Human Rights, or that they know at least one article of the declaration.

Delaine Le Bass in front of the work "Universal Declaration of Human Rights"

The visit to Skopje and the performance of Delaine Le Bass at MSU were realized with the financial support of the British Embassy in Skopje.

(The text was published in "Cultural Press" number 165, in the print edition of the newspaper "Free Press" on February 4-5, 2023)

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