Delaine Le Bas is a cross disciplinary artist with Romani background. She is creating installations, performances, photography and films. She is one of sixteen artists who are part of Paradise Lost, The First Roma Pavilion of the Venice Biennale 2007.
“My biggest inspiration as a growing child was my Uncle Eddie, he loved Hollywood films and adored Veronica Lake. He was only ever truly himself: My Grandmother tells stories of him never wanting his hair cut and, and when they were working on farms while they were travelling, people thought they were sisters. I only ever knew him with the same-sex partner and he constantly encouraged me with my work up until he died early last year.”
Delaine Le Bas – Profile by Nathaniel Hepburn Charleston Press No:1 Orlando At The Present Time (ISBN 978-1-9164404-0-1)
“My Uncle Eddie was an amazing role model for me, he was proud of being a Gypsy but also never hid from himself or others who he truly was. This meant for him a difficult and hard life. Living of the road, travelling from place to place and even while he still very young being himself, which meant he often faced and was the victim of violent as well as verbal attacks. In the 1960’s he moved to Brighton with his partner Peter and they lived there until the recent years when they moved to Worthing to be closer to where my Grandmother lived who he was always close to. When I was younger my Grandmother and I would go to Brighton to visit him. These trips were always my favourite times, we would visit all the second hand shops, he knew everyone, and we would gather up the most amazing assortment of books, clothing and other small treasures.
The picture: Words From Room 3 1978 is when my Uncle Eddie attended reading and writing classes in Brighton and produced some small books about being a Gypsy (this was not a happy time for him as many of the family disapproved of this). Both my Grandmother and my Uncle Eddie were the only two out of their whole family who could read and write. We would spend time drawing and he would hairstyle my hair when he looked after me and he would come to Worthing often telling us stories of his life, he worked in various hotels and also sang and danced – which when they were travelling in their younger days he was famous for especially at Hopping time (picking hops for beer making in September) he continued to sing and dance and used to attend Wickham Fair in Hampshire every year where everyone used to look forward to seeing him, he only stopped when ill health prevented him from going a few years back.
I was devastated when he died on Valentines day last year, he was a constant encourager of me and my work, always there for me at my most difficult of times and never judged me in any way just poured love into my life. I was extremely lucky to have such an amazing talented, open minded, loving, strong human being in my life and I will never forget him I treasure the drawing and small books I have of his. The print of the drawing of the wagon that is here was the last drawing he did for me before he died it is on the back of envelope of the card I gave him for Christmas which he unfolded and drew the image in the middle of, around the edge he wrote how much he loved me and drew flowers, inspiration that will never leave me.
More about Delaine Le Bas: http://delainelebas.com/