Lubaina Himid

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Lubaina Himid

Born1954 (age 67–68)
Alma materWimbledon School of Art
Royal College of Art
OccupationArtist, professor, curator
Years active1983–present
AwardsTurner Prize (2017)

Lubaina Himid CBE RA (born 1954) is a British artist and curator. She is a professor of contemporary art at the University of Central Lancashire.[1][2][3][4] Her art focuses on themes of cultural history and reclaiming identities.[5]

Himid was one of the first artists involved in the UK's Black Art movement in the 1980s[5] and continues to create activist art which is shown in galleries in Britain, as well as worldwide.[3][6] Himid was appointed MBE in June 2010 "for services to Black Women's Art",[1] won the Turner Prize in 2017 [7] and was promoted to CBE in the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours "for services to Art."[8]

Early life and education[edit]

Himid was born in Zanzibar Sultanate (then a British protectorate, now part of Tanzania) in 1954[9] and moved to Britain with her mother, a textile designer,[10] following the death of her father when she was just four months old.[11] She attended the Wimbledon College of Art, where she studied Theatre Design, obtaining her B.A. in 1976.[12] She received her master's degree in Cultural History from the Royal College of Art in London in 1984.[12][2]

Curatorial work[edit]

Himid has organized several exhibitions of work by black women artists, including Black Woman Time Now[13] at the Battersea Arts Centre in London (1983) and Five Black Women, an exhibition in 1983 at the Africa Centre, London.[14] Other exhibitions include: Into the Open (1984), The Thin Black Line (1985), Unrecorded Truths (1986), Out There Fighting (1987), New Robes for MaShulan (1987), and State of the Art (1987).[15] Into the Open, presented at Mappin Art Gallery in Sheffield, was widely regarded as the first major exhibit of the new generation of black British artists.[16] Naming the Money (2004), presents an exuberant crowd of 100 enslaved people, in the roles they played in the princely courts of Europe: everything from dog-trainers, toy makers and mapmakers to dancing masters, musicians and painters. They were bought as the 'property' of wealthy Europeans at a time when Africans were regarded as units of currency and black servants were status symbols. Encountering these victims of eighteenth-century human trafficking, the visitor learns their original identities as well as those imposed on them.[17]

Critical reception[edit]

Himid considers that critical views changed after her work was shown by the Hollybush Gardens gallery in London 2013. Prior to this date she had exhibited in the UK but not internationally or in the largest UK institutions.[6]

Reviewing an updated version of Himid's 2004 work "Naming the Money" for The Daily Telegraph in February 2017, Louisa Buck noted:

"Himid's work has long been concerned with black creativity, history and identity and this animated throng represents the Africans who were brought to Europe as slave servants. There are drummers, dog trainers, dancers, potters, cobblers, gardeners and players of the viola da gamba, all decked out in vivid versions of 17th century costume. Labels on their backs identify each individual, giving both their original African names and occupations as well those imposed by their new European owners, and these poignant texts also form part of an evocative soundtrack, interspersed with snatches of Cuban, Irish, Jewish and African music."[4]

Awards and honours[edit]

Board memberships[edit]

Himid has held positions on many boards and panels. She is on the board of trustees for the Lowry Arts Centre Manchester. Additionally, she is a board member for Arts Council England Visual Arts, Creative Partnerships East Lancs and Arts Council England North West. Previous board memberships include Matt's Gallery, London (2002–05), and Tate Liverpool Council (2000, 2005). From 1985 until 1987 Himid was on the Greater London Arts Association Visual Arts Panel.


Himid was appointed MBE in the June 2010 Birthday Honours "for services to Black Women's Art".[1]

In 2017 Himid became the first black woman to win the Turner Prize.[18][17] She was the oldest person to be nominated for the prize since the rules changed to allow nominations of artists over the age of 50.[19] There were, however, older nominees in the 1980s, before the age limit was introduced in 1994.

Apollo magazine named Himid as 2017 Artist of the Year.[20]

Himid was promoted to CBE in 2018 "for services to Art."[8][21]

Himid was elected a Royal Academician in 2018.[22]

Notable works[edit]

  • We Will Be (wood, paint, drawing pins, wool, collage, 1983)[13]
  • Bone in the China: success to the Africa Trade (installation, c. 1985)
  • Revenge: a masque in five tableaux (multipart installation, 1991–92)
  • Zanzibar (series of paintings, 1999)
  • Plan B (series of paintings, 1999–2000)
  • Swallow Hard: the Lancaster Dinner Service (painted ceramics, 2007)
  • Negative Positives (series of graphic works, 2007– )
  • Kangas (associated works on paper etc., various dates)
  • Le Rodeur (series of paintings, 2016)

Public collections[edit]

Himid's work is in many public collections including Tate Victoria & Albert Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery, Arts Council England, Manchester Art Gallery, International Slavery Museum, Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, Birmingham City Art Gallery, Bolton Art Gallery, New Hall, Cambridge, and the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston.[23][24]

Solo exhibitions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "No. 59446". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 2010. p. 17.
  2. ^ a b "Biography for Lubaina Himid". Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery. Archived from the original on 8 August 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  3. ^ a b Biography; Full CV. Lubaina Himid website. Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b Buck, Louisa (17 February 2017). "Lubaina Himid: a trio of UK shows shines a light on the under-appreciated hero of black British art". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Lubaina Himid", Northern Art Prize. Archived 27 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b c "Lubaina Himid: 'The beginning of my life was a terrible tragedy'". The Guardian. 20 November 2021. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  7. ^ [s.n.] (5 December 2017). Turner Prize 2017: Lubaina Himid's win makes history. BBC News. Accessed December 2017.
  8. ^ a b "No. 62310". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 June 2018. p. B9.
  9. ^ Phaidon Editors (2019). Great Women Artists. Phaidon Press. p. 188. ISBN 978-0714878775. {{cite book}}: |last1= has generic name (help)
  10. ^ Spence, Rachel (20 January 2017). "British artist Lubaina Himid rides a wave of overdue recognition". Financial Times. London. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  11. ^ Judah, Hettie (18 January 2017). "President with a torpedo in his crotch: how the works of Lubaina Himid speak to Trump times". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Prof. Lubaina Himid, MBE: Professor of Contemporary Art". University of Central Lancashire. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  13. ^ a b Pilcher, Alex (2017). A Queer Little History of Art. London: Tate Publishing. p. 94. ISBN 978-1-84976-503-9.
  14. ^ "Lubaina Himid MBE, CBE". Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  15. ^ Melanie, Keen (1996). Recordings : a select bibliography of contemporary African, Afro-Caribbean and Asian British art. London: Institute of International Visual Arts and Chelsea College of Art and Design. ISBN 1899846069. OCLC 36076932.
  16. ^ Hillstrom, Laurie Collier; Hillstrom, Kevin (1999). Contemporary women artists. Women artists. Detroit: St. James Press. ISBN 9781558623729.
  17. ^ a b Great women artists. Morrill, Rebecca,, Wright, Karen, 1950 November 15-, Elderton, Louisa. London. 2 October 2019. ISBN 978-0-7148-7877-5. OCLC 1099690505.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  18. ^ Brown, Mark (5 December 2017). "Lubaina Himid becomes oldest artist to win Turner prize". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  19. ^ "Turner Prize: Black painting pioneers break award age barrier". BBC News Online. 3 May 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  20. ^ Barnard, Imelda (21 September 2017), "Artist of the Year", Apollo.
  21. ^ Boardman, Lyndsey (12 June 2018), "CBE for Turner Prize winner and UCLan Professor", University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
  22. ^ "Lubaina Himid – Artist". London: Royal Academy of Arts.
  23. ^ "Bio", Lubna Himid website.
  24. ^ "Work in collections", Lubaina Himid.
  25. ^ "Lubaina Himid: Invisible Strategies | 21 January — 30 April 2017", Modern Art Oxford.
  26. ^ Mill, Baltic. "Lubaina Himid :: BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art". Retrieved 11 May 2018.

External links[edit]