Diploma project, ECAL 2011


by Namsa Leuba

“ I am an African-European, born in Switzerland and my project was accomplished on a trip to Guinea Conakry. 

In this work, I was interested in the construction and deconstruction of the body as well as the depiction of the invisible. 

I have studied ritual artifacts common to the cosmology of Guineans; statuettes that are part of a ceremonial structure. They are from another world, they are the roots of the living. Thereby, I sought to touch the untouchable. 

Modesty, luck, fecundity or a channel for exorcism, those statuettes hold a cultural value through what they represent or symbolise. With this work, I transform these objects, cosmological symbols of a community, who traditionally have a signification when used as part of rituals. 

These objects are part of a collective that they must not be separated from, or risk loosing their value. They are not the gods of this community but their prayers. They are integrated in a rigorous symbolic order, where every component has its place. They are ritual tools that I have animated by staging live models and in a way to desecrate them by giving them another meaning; an unfamiliar meaning in the Guinean context. 

In recontextualizing these sacred objects through the lens, I brought them in a framework meant for Western aesthetic choices and taste. 

This photographic eye would make them speak differently. Throughout my fieldwork, I had to deal with sometimes violent reactions from Guineans who viewed my procedures/practices as a form of sacrilege. Some were afraid and were struck with astonishment. ”

Namsa Leuba

PHOTOGRAPHY, Ya Kala Ben, Namsa Leuba 3838
PHOTOGRAPHY, Ya Kala Ben, Namsa Leuba 3839
PHOTOGRAPHY, Ya Kala Ben, Namsa Leuba 3840
PHOTOGRAPHY, Ya Kala Ben, Namsa Leuba 3841
PHOTOGRAPHY, Ya Kala Ben, Namsa Leuba 3842
PHOTOGRAPHY, Ya Kala Ben, Namsa Leuba 3843
PHOTOGRAPHY, Ya Kala Ben, Namsa Leuba 3844