Free For All
GALLERY HOURS (during exhibitions)
Monday - Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Open Thursdays until 7pm
EDU BLOG ARCHIVES

Namsa Leuba’s Illusions

Thu Oct 21, 2021
Illusions is Namsa Leuba’s newest series made during her two-year stay in Tahiti, photographing her relationships with community members. The series explores the fetishization of the Other in Western society, particularly within art and media. In tandem with Leuba’s other work, Illusions explores the Western tendency to see other cultures as the Other. Gauguin’s paintings of Tahiti depicted images of indigenous women naked or ‘exotic’ for Western viewers, further othering the Tahitian people. Many times, Western viewers do not see the cultural history present that is recognizable iconography to many African people in Leuba’s work, sometimes mistaking it as simply fashion editorials.
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Spirit’s Turf

Mon Oct 18, 2021
Though I truly believe that this is a wonderful and very impressive exhibition, the first photo to really stand out to me however, was Koos, from the series Khoisan. There is something very mythical about this piece and all together I think the body of work contains a very folkloric essence to it, delving upon African lore and legend. Within this work, Namsa experiments with anachronistic costumes and environments, seeking to subvert the traditional and Western perceptions of African Culture. 
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Inspired by the Ndebele culture located in Northeastern South Africa, Namsa Leuba’s Ndebele Patterns photographic series is a distorted and unrecognizable representation of the Ndebele wall paintings that originate as far back as the 18th century. The patterns painted by this culture have immense symbolism for the people who create them, with each color, line, and shape having specific meanings. These meanings range from self-identity and prayers to emotions and marriages.
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What viewers of art director and photographer Namsa Leuba’s works see is the culmination of her upbringing and experiences. It is her uncommon dual citizenship that has exposed her to two differing cultures that allows us to observe her eccentric perspective of the circumstance via her photography. With a Guinean mother and a Swiss father, the customs and traditions of each culture intertwine and augment the outlook that is the foundation of her artworks. Her current exhibition Crossed Looks at the Halsey depicts the aspects of the unique societies, heritages, and beliefs of Guinea, Nigeria, Benin, South Africa, and Tahiti. Through the calculated configuration of her compositions, she not only contributes vibrant and beautiful portrayals of the communities she captures with her camera, but also calls on how these countries of subjecthood and colonialism are typically misrepresented and misinterpreted by Western mass media.
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Namsa Leuba’s series Cocktail and African Queens transcends fixed modes of representation with the incorporation of modern fashion influences. Leuba focuses in on the politics of gaze, exploring “who is looking, who is being looked at, and the medium of which this looking occurs.” However, it’s all about how the viewer is receiving her depictions.
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We asked fall 2021 intern Sallye to complete a writing activity from our teaching packet for "Namsa Leuba: Crossed Looks" She chose Poetry in Motion: When exploring Namsa Leuba: Crossed Looks a lot of descriptive words will come to mind. A fun activity may be using those words to create a poem or song about your favorite photograph, one of the series, or even the whole exhibition. You can work by yourself or with your group, write down single words that pop in your mind, for example: vibrant, serious, exciting. Then once your words or collected, string them together to make a song or poem!
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Namsa Leuba has a rich background in fashion, photography, and art direction. She utilizes her artistic ability to critique the stereotypes of Africa from the Western eye. Her fashion series are no exception to the excellence and meaning behind every one of her works. Even though her fashion series may have been commissioned, Namsa still plays with the ideas of “exoticism” in her works. These themes are shown in her collections: Tonköma, African Queens, and Cocktail. Her Tonköma series in particular blends seamlessly with her other works, fashion or not fashion related.
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In the first weeks of "Namsa Leuba: Crossed Looks" College of Charleston English faculty member and Director of Undergraduate Creative Writing Gary Jackson brought his courses for a tour of the exhibition. After hearing background information on Namsa Leuba and learning about the art director and photographer's methodology and the consistent threads in her work, the students were tasked with creating ekphrastic responses to works in the exhibition. After writing poems, prose, and short stories the students shared their pieces with their classmates. A handful of the students also agreed to contribute their work to our blog. Thank you to Amber Perry, Luke Shaw, and Eva Voros for sharing your work with us!
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The Halsey Institute's reference library, Biblioteca, has a wide range of titles related to wide range of subjects within the art, curiosities, and visual culture realms. For each exhibition we ask our interns to pull books from the selves that relate, in their eyes, to the themes, subject, and medium of the exhibitions on view. In this blog post, our fall 2021 intern Sallye shares why she chose Maske by photographer and past Halsey Institute artist Phyllis Galembo as a related book for the Namsa Leuba: Crossed Looks exhibition. Our Biblioteca catalog is searchable online so you can also find titles that you feel relate to the artworks in the galleries.
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Art Activity | You Are Here

Sat Jul 10, 2021
We asked our summer 2021 intern Maggie to complete one of the activities in the Educational Resource packet’s “Suggested Activities” for Jibade-Khalil Huffman: You Are Here. She chose Everyday Noise: Write/record the sounds you hear as you go about your day, as many as you can! What sounds would you include in your own installation? What sounds and music might you sharewith other people? How does closing your eyes and simply listening impact your experience? Are there any noises you may have not noticed until now?
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Free For All
GALLERY HOURS (during exhibitions)
Monday - Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Open Thursdays until 7pm
843.953.4422

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