Performance Matters 2: Daniel Baker and Delaine Le Bas

Open Lecture


Image: Daniel Bake and Delaine Le Bas by Karl Grady

Romani culture is marked by a history of critical performance and performativity. Romani survival in Europe, over the course of a millennium, has been contingent upon the adoption and practice of a number of performance strategies, including oral history, storytelling, music, dance and theatre, as well as upon everyday narratives that perform intelligible Romani identities for both the community itself and for non-Roma. What is the relationship between Romani performance, Romani iterations of performativity and hegemonic knowledge production? What are the slippages amongst these practices? What is the potential in these slippages and iterations for different forms of agency, especially in light of the current violence confronting Romani subjects across Europe?

Daniel Baker is a Romani Gypsy. An artist, curator and theorist, he holds a PhD on the subject of Gypsy aesthetics from the Royal College of Art, London. Baker acted as exhibitor and advisor to the first and second Roma Pavilions; “Paradise Lost” and “Call the Witness” at the 52nd and 54th Venice Biennales respectively. Baker’s art and writing examines the role of art in the enactment of social agency. Recent publications include “We Roma: A Critical Reader in Contemporary art” 2013 and “Ex Libris” 2009. Baker’s work is exhibited internationally. His work can be found in collections across Europe, America, and Asia. Former Chair of the Gypsy Council (2006-9), Baker currently lives and works in London

Delaine Le Bas is an English Romani Gypsy. Delaine’s artistic practice is across media including performance. Delaine studied Fashion and Textiles at St Martins. She was advisor and exhibitor in the First Roma Pavilion Paradise Lost at 52nd Venice Biennale. Delaines ongoing project Witch Hunt, a multi media installation that includes sound, film and performance commissioned in 2009 still continues to tour and was included in Roundtable Gwangju Biennale South Korea. Most recent projects include To Gypsyland co-curated by Barby Asante and commissioned by 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning and Grace In Thy Sight a PH1 Artists Residency where the Le Bas family were in residence on The Eye Of York in York in a caravan for month. Both of these projects will be available as publications in the near future. Delaine recently returned from Zimbabwe working on Basket Case II which will be exhibited at National Gallery Harare and will continue onto National Gallery Bullawayo Zimbabwe. Delaine lives and works in various locations across Europe and the U.K.

Daniel Baker and Delaine Le Bas are part of an AHRC funded network Performing Romani Identities: Strategy and Critique with CCW Professor Jane Collins and Dr. Ethel Brooks Rutgers University, USA, Tate-TrAIN Transnational Fellow. Daniel and Delaine will present their own work and discuss the aims of the network project which travels to four cities in Europe from January 2015.

Related People

  • Collins_thumb

    Professor Jane Collins

    TrAIN Member

    Jane Collins, Professor of Theatre and Performance.
    I am a writer, director and theatre-maker who has worked all over the UK and internationally including The Royal Court in London, The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, The Theatre Royal in York and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC.
    Find out more about Professor Jane Collins