Namsa Leuba's eclectic photographic practice examines the representation of African identities through the Western gaze and more recently explores gender issues in Polynesia. By blending documentary style, fashion, and performance, Namsa Leuba creates an imaginary visual realm that delves into the signs and symbols of the cultures she encounters. Whether executed on location during her travels around the world or in studio environments, Namsa Leuba's projects combine an anthropological interest in traditional customs with an aesthetic informed by the sensibilities of fashion and design. Embracing a theatrical approach with a keen focus on accessories, colors, and gestures, Namsa Leuba questions the relationship between documentary and fiction, action and representation, the sacred and the profane. In this way, Namsa Leuba seeks to convey a certain form of "cultural hybridity" reflecting the duality of her heritage.
Namsa Leuba (Switzerland, 1982) studied photography at ECAL, the Lausanne University of Art and Design, where she earned a master's degree in artistic direction. Her work straddles the line between fine art and fashion photography and has been published in numerous magazines, including I-D, Numéro, KALEIDOSCOPE, Foam, Interview, Vice Magazine, New York Magazine, Le Monde, Libération, British Journal of Photography, and European Photography.
Having received multiple awards, she has participated in various international fairs and exhibitions. In 2010, Namsa Leuba won the first prize at the Planches Contact festival in Deauville, France. In 2012, she received the PhotoGlobal award at the International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères, France, and won the Flash Forward Emerging photographer festival by the Magenta Foundation in Boston, Canada in 2013. In 2017, her work was nominated Foam Talent.
Namsa Leuba has also taken part in numerous recent exhibitions, such as Photoquai in Paris (France, 2015); Making Africa: A continent of Contemporary Design at the Guggenheim Bilbao (Spain, 2015); Africa Reframed in Copenhagen (Denmark, 2016); Daegu Photo Biennale in Daegu (South Korea, 2016); a performance at Off Print at Tate Modern in London (UK, 2016); Africa State of Mind at the New Art Exchange in Nottingham (UK, 2018); The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion at the Aperture Gallery in New York (USA, 2019); Eyes in Focus with La Prairie at Art Basel (2019); Photo Vogue Festival in Milan (Italy, 2021), In the Black Fantastic at the Southbank Centre in London (UK, 2022), and Stranger in the Village at Aargauer Kunsthaus in Aarau (Switzerland, 2023).
In addition to her artistic work, she has produced fashion campaigns for brands like Dior, Christian Lacroix, and Nike, and collaborated with Netflix. She has also recently published her first monograph, "Namsa Leuba: Crossed Looks," by Damiani Editions. Her work is included in prestigious private collections, including the Swiss Foundation for Photography and the Tang Museum in New York. Namsa Leuba currently resides in Bordeaux.
By blending documentary style, fashion, and performance, Namsa Leuba creates an imaginary visual world that explores the signs and symbols of the cultures she encounters. Whether executed on location during her travels around the world or in studio environments, Namsa Leuba's projects combine an anthropological interest in traditional customs with an aesthetic influenced by the sensibilities of fashion and design. Adopting a theatrical approach with particular attention to accessories, colors, and gestures, Namsa Leuba questions the relationship between documentary and fiction, action and representation, the sacred and the profane.