A Difficult Ritual, “Heavenly Brown Body”

Leslie Foster’s most recent installation, "Heavenly Brown Body" is based on a haunting poem by the late Mark Aguhar called "Litanies to My Heavenly Brown Body."

Leslie Foster is an artist, an experimental film maker, whose work challenges us to move deeper into hard conversations by re-introducing us to ritual. Ritual is as deeply embedded into what it means to be human as play is. And while ritual plays a very different role, it comes from the same place that play does and affects us just as deeply.

“Heavenly Brown Body” is Leslie’s most recent installation, based on a haunting poem by the late Mark Aguhar called “Litanies to My Heavenly Brown Body.” His work is challenging and for some of us, myself included, it’s really hard to take in. But we’ve all been learning that the most important first step toward healing as our nation responds to the murder of George Floyd, is to listen.

For some, Leslie gives voice through ritual to pain not often understood. And for others, he provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our role in the events leading up to this time in history – not to condemn, but to open a pathway to healing.

Leslie Foster is a 2006 graduate of Southern Adventist University with a B.S. in Film Production, and a B.A. in International Studies. Leslie’s aesthetic sensibility comes from a childhood spent growing up in Southeast Asia, straddling multiple Asian cultures and his own American roots. His work, which has been internationally exhibited and includes two solos shows, quietly subverts existing power dynamics while inviting viewers into challenging dialogs through the beautifully strange. Leslie currently serves as the Director of Art Residency for Level Ground and fantasizes about running away with a sea-faring band of nomadic artists.


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“I want to make work that is utopian in nature, that points toward better futures. Sometimes people think that’s light, fluffy work, but I don’t. I think it’s hard. It’s difficult, but it points to something beyond, challenges, and then shows other worlds are possible.”

-Leslie Foster, Artist


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