From geisha to Tutsi, portraits to vindicate cultural diversity

From a photographer father and a drawing teacher mother, the French illustrator Delphine Labedan, who lives in the Empordà, grew up surrounded by portraits and travel books. Seduced by world cultures, social groups, traditions, ways of dressing and everything “ethnic”, Labedan presents the exhibition in virtual format at the Les Bernardes de Salt cultural center Nomadic portraits. Praise for diversity, the result of more than four years of intense work.

Breath. You look nowhere. Horizon absent. You do not know. You do not think. You’re not. Gust of air. Wandering. Unexpected. Baffling. It messes you up. Wakes you up. And smile, your hair tickles your cheeks

“They are imaginary portraits inspired by reality; a journey through the gaze ”, sums up the artist, who through 56 illustrations takes the viewer to know different peoples and cultures, from Japan to Sweden, passing through Russia, Africa or Oceania.

Pandora's box.  World of blind illusions.  Piñata.  At the stroke of a cane.  Breaks.  And dreams run away.  But the party goes on.  Until the end.  It is the text that the image awakened in Sílvia Colomé, author of the micro-stories that accompany the exhibition.

Pandora’s box. World of blind illusions. Piñata. At the stroke of a cane. Breaks. And dreams run away. But the party goes on. Until the end.

Delphine Labedan / Sílvia Colomé

Images in color or in black and white, in watercolor, acrylic or pencil, which are accompanied by the poetic texts of the journalist Sílvia Colomé, editor-in-chief of Culture at La Vanguardia, who has let the images “speak to me and resonate within my”. As a result of this, evocative texts that guide the viewer throughout the exhibition that can be visited at www.bernardes.cat.

The illustrator discovered some cultures present in the exhibition by traveling and others by reading. On a trek in Peru he met the Quechua Indians and the Berber people from a trip to the north of Morocco.

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I have let the images speak to me and resonate within me “



Sílvia Colomé Journalist and author of the texts that accompany the photographs

The exhibition is a praise of cultural diversity in a world in which, according to the author, there is a trend “towards uniformity, to eliminate differences between peoples, which devours ethnic groups and which forces many communities and entire peoples to be uprooted, to get lost, to dissolve and to disappear fleeing from wars, plunder, climate change or famine… ”.

We live in a world that eliminates the differences between peoples, that devours small ethnic groups and that forces many communities to be uprooted “



Delphine LabedanIllustrator

In the sample there are minorities such as the Tutsi, the Rwandan people who were victims of a genocide in 1994 and that Colomé remembers with those words: “Belgian fire on burning ground. Land of ranchers. Land of farmers, Tutsis and Houthis. Land of blood. One dead every ten seconds. Hundred days. Extermination. Black holocaust, black vultures, black souls. Pain that you do not forget. But that looks forward ”.

Tutsi.  Belgian fire on burning ground.  Land of ranchers.  Land of peasants.  Tutsis and Houthis.  Land of blood.  One dead every ten seconds.  Hundred days.  Extermination.  Black holocaust, black vultures, black souls. Pain he does not forget.  But that looks forward.

Tutsi. “… One dead every ten seconds. One hundred days. Extermination. Black holocaust, black vultures, black souls. Pain that he does not forget. But that looks forward.

Delphine Labedan / Sílvia Colomé

Other African cultural groups are also represented, such as the Tuaregs, the Bushmen or the Massai, who in Colomé awakened this text: “Meek lions. Danger of extinction. Stolen land. Sacred herb. High leaps into an uncertain future ”.

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The Ainu, an indigenous ethnic group from northern Japan and southern Sakhalin Island, Russia; the Hmong, the largest minority ethnic group in China, the Kazakhs of Kazakhstan as well as portraits of inhabitants of Alaska, Nepal or Turkey are other sources of the illustrations that are reflected in the sample.

Ancestral melody.  Human  Ainu.  Vibrate like the mukkuri Sing like the birds.  Flying.

Ancestral melody. Human Ainu. Vibrate like the mukkuri Sing like the birds. Flying.

Delphine Labedan / Sílvia Colomé.

An exhibition created in times of a pandemic that also alludes to this health crisis with the portrait of a person in a kind of diving suit that Colomé baptizes as Homo Covidus. “Condemnation of introspection. We navigate through solitudes. And we reached inhospitable corners. Astronauts of our world. Bubbles in a universe of blazing stars. In search of ourselves. ”.

Labedan studied plastic arts at the University of Bordeaux and Art History at the University of Pau, where he was born. For a year and a half he studied sociology of art at the University of Perpignan. Since 2008 she works as a painting and drawing illustrator at the Escola d’Arts de Salt. He has illustrated several stories and books for France and Catalonia.

Massai.  Tame lions.  Danger of extinction.  Stolen land.  Sacred herb.  High jumps, into an uncertain void.

Massai. Tame lions. Danger of extinction. Stolen land. Sacred herb. High jumps, into an uncertain void.

Delphine Labedan / Sílvia Colomé.

For her part, Sílvia Colomé has been practicing journalism for more than twenty years, currently as editor-in-chief of Culture at La Vanguardia. Has published the novel The legend of the Alley (Pagès editors) and the story The weeping stalactite (Salòria). Both works feature illustrations by Labedan.

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