On the Life and Legacy of Damian Le Bas (1963-2017)
by Dorian Batycka
Le Bas’s work, perhaps above all else, paid humble tribute to the marginalized history of one of Europe’s most discriminated groups. “I’m literally putting Gypsies on the map,” Le Bas once said of his large-scale works depicting his community’s stories and symbols, challenging entrenched European stereotypes, hierarchies and bigotry in the process. Through collage and drawing, mainly, but also through the intimate perspective of being physically within Gypsy communities his entire life, Le Bas has extended the visibility of the Gypsy community far and wide.
Born in 1963 to a family of Irish Travellers, Le Bas was an embedded member of the European Roma community. In his work, he developed counter-narratives of Roma portraying them instead according to more positive, colloquial, universal visions of Roma in the wider world.
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