From her dual and unique perspective, Namsa Leuba is interested in the politics of the gaze— who is looking, who is being looked at, and through what medium this gaze occurs. Since the invention of photography, the camera has been a decisive instrument in shaping and solidifying the Western gaze, which has formed a visual imagination of the African continent and the exotic other, often with a fetishistic interest in different bodies and customs. The series "Weke," which means in the local language "the visible and invisible universe, all created, living, breathing or not," was created during a journey to the Republic of Benin, the birthplace of voodoo. With the "Weke" series, Namsa Leuba imagines narratives inspired by animist traditions through the prism of voodoo cosmogony, which is based on the principle that the spirit governs the natural and human world and communicates with mythical gods through religious ceremonies. Through this, Namsa Leuba explores the spectrum of the sacred, shedding light and color on what emanates from animist legends and voodoo ceremonies. Composed with local models and costumes and accessories created by the artist, the photos in the "Weke" series offer a dreamlike representation of these legends and convey the atmosphere created by voodoo rituals, thus offering a performative and contemporary narrative of the elements that comprise them. These representations reveal the continuity of all things, both visible and invisible, in the universe and the interdependence of the living, spiritual, and natural worlds. The installation "Reflets," inspired by geomancy, on the other hand, depicts the interactions between these different worlds and those who animate them, thus reflecting on Our Worldviews.
Selected pictures from the series
Photo credit La Ferme des Tilleuls