In 2017, Lubaina Himid won the Turner Prize, the biggest art award in the UK. It followed more than 30 years of bold and witty work that puts people of African descent at the centre of our shared cultural history, which they’ve often been left out of.
From larger-than-life cut-out characters that fill entire rooms, to ceramic tableware that tells untold stories about the slave trade, Himid’s work is finally getting the attention it deserves.
For the Yes, but why? article series we teamed up with WePresent to tell the stories of Himid and four other game-changing artists. Here we chose three artworks from the article to give you some insight into her world.
1. She wants artists of colour to be taken seriously
Take The Carrot Piece. This work, Himid explains, is about how cultural institutions want to be seen to integrate people of colour into their programmes, without seriously engaging with their work or the issues it raises.
2. She studied theatre design which shapes the way she works
As a trained stage designer, it’s no surprise that Himid’s work feels theatrical. In her paintings she likes to use bold, rich acrylic colours for her characters, who often wear intricately textured or patterned clothes.
3. She is influenced by and reacts to art history
As a child, Himid frequently visited art galleries and museums. Her work has been in conversation with art history throughout her career, as seen here in A Fashionable Marriage.
This is based on an interview between Maisie Skidmore and Tate curator, Laura Castagnini for story-telling site WePresent.