Artist biography

British painter. She studied theatre design at Wimbledon School of Art and cultural history at the Royal College of Art, London. She was particularly interested in discussing and tackling her position as a black woman through the practice of painting, and held the view that painting is the common form and tool for dialogue about art, illusion and prophecy. Conscious too that painting has a history of use in the adornment of architecture, homes, bodies and fabrics, and involves cultures and artists that are marginalised, she worked at a point of intersection between these two areas. She was best known for her sensuous, painterly rewritings of history: depictions of moments where women are within history and are active in determining and changing its course. In Five (acrylic on canvas, 1.5×1.2 m, 1991; Griselda Pollock priv. col.), for example, two black women discard maps of a white, imperialist, patriarchal world. In other works Himid used patterns that allude to modernist abstraction as well as to the patterns in fabrics made by women in Africa and other parts of the world (e.g. Invasion, acrylic on canvas, 2.1×1.5 m, 1991). All her work, however, addresses issues of painting and history, mourning such historical injustices as slavery while celebrating the pleasures of her own life and friendships and the sensuality of paint.

New Robes for MaShulan: Lubaina Himid: Work Past and Present: A Room for MaShulan (exh. cat., Rochdale, A.G., 1987)
Lubaina Himid: Revenge (exh. cat. by J. Morgan and M. Sulter, Rochdale, A.G., 1992)

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