Art & History

Celebrating the work of British Black Arts Movement pioneer Lubaina Himid

Artist Lubaina Himid has spent the past three decades or so creating a significant body of work that’s as powerful in its activism statements as in its arresting visual qualities. Born in Zanzibar, Tanzania, Himid’s paintings, sculptural pieces and installations examine ideas around “cultural history and reclaiming identities,” and the artist was one of the first to be involved in the 1980s Black Art movement.

As is still unfortunately the case today, in the 1980s Himid saw the art world as under-representing her black peers, and organised exhibitions of their work. Her own images, too, seek to examine and challenge the way black figures have been depicted throughout art history.

This month a trio of exhibitions will showcase Himid’s work, each presenting different facets of her practice. Invisible Strategies at Modern Art Oxford (21 January – 30 April 2017) is the most comprehensive of the three, boasting the artist’s first major survey exhibition and drawing together paintings, sculptures, ceramics and works on paper from the 1980s to today that showcase what the gallery terms “Himid’s consistently thought-provoking and distinctive visual style.”

Running alongside this show is Navigation Charts at Spike Island, Bristol (20 January – 26 March 2017), and The Place is Here at Nottingham Contemporary (4 February – 30 April 2017), which presents around 100 works by 30 black artists and collectives from the 1980s.

Alongside creating her own work, Himid is also a renowned curator, archivist and writer, and Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire. It’s a treat to have so many galleries around the UK celebrating her work and her impact.

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