Namsa Leuba’s diverse photographic practice examines the representation of African identity through the Western imagination. Spanning documentary, fashion and performance, Namsa Leuba creates a visual imaginary that explores the signs and symbols of her cultural heritage, from rituals and ceremonies to statuettes and masquerades. Whether executed on location in the artist’s ancestral hometown of Guinea or in the constructed studio environment, Leuba’s projects combine an anthropological interest in traditional customs with an aesthetic that is informed by fashion and design sensibilities. Adopting a theatrical approach with careful attention to props, colors and gestures, Namsa Leuba questions the relationship between fact and fiction, action and representation, and the sacred and the profane.
Namsa Leuba (Switzerland, b. 1982) studied photography at ECAL, University of Art and Design Lausanne, and obtained a Masters in Art Direction at ECAL. Her work has been published in numerous magazines, including I-D, Numéro, KALEIDOSCOPE, Foam, Interview, Vice Magazine, New York Magazine, Wallpaper, Libération, British Journal of Photography, and European Photography. In 2010, Leuba won First Prize at the Planches Contact Festival in Deauville, France. In 2012, Leuba was awarded the PhotoGlobal Prize at the Photography Festival in Hyères. She was the winner of the Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Festival in 2013. Namsa Leuba has participated in recent exhibitions including Photoquai in Paris, France; Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design at the Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain; Nataal: New African Photography at Redhook Labs, Brooklyn; Africa Reframed in Copenhagen, Denmark; Daegu Photo Biennale in Daegu, Korea; the Athens Photo Festival in Athens, Greece, and a performance in Off Print at the Tate Modern, London. Her work is included in prestigious private collections including the Swiss Foundation for Photography and the Tang Museum (New York). Leuba’s first large scale solo exhibition, Ethnomodern, was held at Art Twenty One in Lagos in 2016. Leuba lives and works between Africa and Europe.
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