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Pop-up Exhibition/Artist Talk with Leilah Babirye

  • Ori Gallery 1004 North Mason Street Portland, OR, 97217 United States (map)
Image via

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Join us for a very special pop-up exhibition and artist talk with Ugandan Artist and Activist, Leilah Babirye. Courtesy Gordon Robichaux, N.Y. Underwritten with generous support from Kurt Beadell.

Friday, September 7th, 7-10 p.m. at Ori Gallery.
This event is free and open to the public. Donations appreciated.

Leilah Babirye (B. 1985, Kampala, Uganda) lives in the Bronx and works in Brooklyn, New York. She studied art at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, from 2007 to 2010, and participated in the Fire Island Artist Residency in 2015. She has since received asylum due to the support of the African Services Committee and the NYC Anti-Violence Project. Profiles on Babirye and her work were recently featured in Modern Painters and OUT Magazine. In 2018 Babirye presented her work on panel discussions at the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair and the Black Lesbian Conference at Barnard College, and was included within the Canada booth at Frieze New York. Her debut solo exhibition took place at Gordon Robichaux in 2018. A commissioned outdoor sculpture will be exhibited at Socrates Sculpture Park this fall. 

Artist Statement
My work can be described as `abstract sculpture.’ I use found objects such as metal, plastic, rubber and wood. Through the act of burning, nailing and assembling I aim to address the realities of being gay in the context of Uganda and Africa in general. Recently my working process has been fueled by a need to find a language to respond recent passing of the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda. The search for the right words or grammar and the search for a critical way of asking questions are similar to the way I carefully select my materials. The burning of some of the materials, especially objects made out of plastic, is performed in public places. The act is subtle in that the burning object is buried underground and still generates smoke that can only be noticed when one looks closely or is overcome by the smell.
This subtle strategy reflects on the pain experienced by the gay community, a pain that remains unseen although felt by many. My sculptural work is created using rough materials with which I create forms and volumes with a quite strength representative of the queer community in Uganda and other parts Africa.

Sangalyambogo, (Favorite Daughter of The King of Buganda), 2016, Metal, twine, yarn and found objects, 20 (diameter) x 3 in, courtesy Gordon Robichaux.jpg
Earlier Event: September 1
Later Event: September 8
A special screening of GET OUT