Namsa Leuba Statuette Vili

Dimensions:
28.8 x 35 cm

Description:
Fanta, Guinea. Image © Namsa Leuba. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
2011

Namsa Leuba Statuette Kafigeledio

Dimensions:
28.8 x 35 cm

Description:
Prince, Guinea. Image © Namsa Leuba. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
2011

Namsa Leuba Statuette Zoo

Dimensions:
28.8 x 35 cm

Description:
Foret, Guinea. Image © Namsa Leuba. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
2011

Namsa Leuba Statuette Ndoki

Dimensions:
28.8 x 35 cm

Description:
Saléou, Guinea. Image © Namsa Leuba. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
2011

Namsa Leuba Statuette Sorsornè

Dimensions:
28.8 x 35 cm

Description:
Oumou, Guinea. Image © Namsa Leuba. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
2011

Namsa Leuba Statuette Vodun

Dimensions:
28.8 x 35 cm

Description:
Alim Mamadou, Guinea. Image © Namsa Leuba. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
2011

Namsa Leuba Statuette Nganga

Dimensions:
28.8 x 35 cm

Description:
Salé Laye, Guinea. Image © Namsa Leuba. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
2011

Namsa Leuba Statuette Punu

Dimensions:
28.8 x 35 cm

Description:
Bintou, Guinea. Image © Namsa Leuba. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
2011

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Namsa Leuba
Ya Kala Ben

An African-European, born in Switzerland, Namsa Leuba has built this project on a trip to Guinea Conakry, to unveil the constructions and deconstruction of the body, but also to depict the invisible.

The photographs study ritual artifacts common to the cosmology of Guineans, with statuettes being part of a complex ceremonial structure. These statuettes seem to come from another world, marking the visible roots of the living, yet picturing the untouchable. The statuettes hold a cultural value through what they represent or symbolise, modesty, luck, fecundity or a channel for exorcism being some of the recurrent themes.

Through her photographs, Namsa Leuba transforms these cosmological objects and symbols of community, which traditionally have a specific signification when used as part of rituals. As these objects are part of a collective that they must not be separated from, in order to keep their value and consideration, they are integrated into symbolic orders where every component has its place and holds a specific function. These statuettes become ritualistic tools that the photographer animates by staging live models and desecrates by giving them another meaning, which is unfamiliar to the Guinean context. As the camera lens recontextualize these sacred objects, the artist brings them in a framework designed for a Western aesthetic of choice and taste, making the statuettes speak differently and challening both the Western perspective and the sometimes violent reactions of Guineans who view such practices as a form of sacrilege.

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Namsa Leuba was born in 1982 from a Guinean mother and a Swiss father. During the past 3 years, her research focused on African identity through Western eyes. 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, European Photography. Namsa Leuba has also received...