February 22, 2018

Lubaina Himid wins Turner Prize

06 December 2017, 11:39 | Melvin Schneider

Hurvin Anderson

Hurvin Anderson

Lubaina Himid's career as an artist, curator and scholar has been central to rethinking the Western canon of art history and museological practices over the past 30 years.

The African artist, now Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire, is best known for her paintings, drawings, printmaking, and installations that centre on black identity, her works making reference to the African diaspora and the slave industry.

At its 63 years, Lubaina Himid surpasses in more than a decade limit of age that Turner imposed on 1991 (seven years after its creation) but that in this edition it has chose to eliminate.

Alongside her artistic practice Himid has curated exhibitions to showcase underrepresented Black artists.

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All of this - and much else besides - makes her newsworthy. She was made an MBE for services to black women's art in 2010.

Lubaina Himid, a 63-year-old artist whose creations include dinner plates painted with vomiting aristocrats, became the oldest person ever to win Britain's most prestigious art award - the Turner Prize - on Thursday. Established in 1984, the annual award is aimed at UK-based artists who have had an outstanding exhibition in the previous year. The figures preen, gawp and guffaw across a raised stage. Incorporating painting, drawing and collage on cut-outs, the installation relates its historical inspiration to our current climate by including contemporary newspaper headlines and images of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. This time, Himid drew inspiration from the late 18th-century English caricaturists James Gillray and Thomas Rowlandson, decorating glazed crockery - plates, jugs, tureens - with a procession of fat country squires, their complaining wives and a retinue of black servants and slaves. Revisiting her earlier work, she staged Thin Black Lines in 2011 at Tate Britain with curator Paul Goodwin, and has produced a series of research documentaries including Open Sesame (2005) and The Point of Collection (2007), in collaboration with Tate Liverpool. In all probability, she herself will now make the front page of the paper.

The jury applauded the four nominated artists for their socially engaged and visually imaginative work. He felt those artists" contributions had not been "recognized as a key aspect of the story of art at the time. By awarding this year's prize to Himid, the jury seems to be retroactively recognizing its importance. The jury praised the artist for her "uncompromising tackling of issues including colonial history and how racism persists today". They admire her expansive and exuberant approach to painting which combines satire and a sense of theatre.

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