Embracing the Spaces

Le’Andra LeSeur ’10 unexpectedly entwines life and art
by Matt Hughes
To Le’Andra LeSeur ’10, art was always something you did with your hands: the technical mastery to cast sunlight and shadow in pinpricks of pigment or conjure human locomotion in mounds of clay. They were skills she didn’t think she would ever have.

Her first semester in Bucknell’s Arts Residential College flipped that perspective.

Le’Andra LeSeur headshot
Photo: April R. Maxey
Le’Andra LeSeur ’10 was an artist-in-residence at Bucknell in fall 2020.
“Learning about modern and conceptual artists who were working in a space outside what I traditionally saw as art was mind-blowing, but also life changing,” she says.

In the art & art history courses LeSeur pursued alongside her management major and subsequent study of photography at Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, art became a way of looking. In her professional interdisciplinary practice, it’s a way of looking at herself and reflecting it back for others.

“I’ve tried to honor my own existence as a Black queer woman through the work that I create,” she says. “That comes in the form of fully embracing the spaces I’m in and understanding the context and how I can allow for my presence to fully be felt.”

At her exhibition at the Samek Museum’s Campus Gallery last fall, held in conjunction with her appointment as Bucknell’s Ekard Artist-in-Residence, visitors were greeted by In Reverence (An Honoring), a video of LeSeur’s upraised hands gently swaying before an open sky. Moving inside, they encountered a quote that her father wrote while incarcerated, a reflection on encountering grace while looking up at the sky, glowing in orange neon within the darkened gallery.

In a virtual gallery tour and remote workshops during the residency, LeSeur brought her Bucknell experience full circle, offering current students a window into her creative process and showing how they can give voice to their own experiences.

“Life is art. I think they are very much intertwined,” she says. “So for me it was really beautiful to invite people into that world and allow them to see that art is just an extension of who we all are.”

Watch LeSeur Lead a Tour of Her Show at Bucknell