A major exhibition of the luminous and powerful work of Lubaina Himid (Zanzibar, 1954) offers an overview of the British artist’s output for the first time. An influential figure in contemporary art, from the central role she played in the British Black Art movement in the 1980s right up to her winning the prestigious Turner Prize in 2017, Lubaina Himid has constantly explored the possibilities that painting offers while questioning the narratives it conveys. In doing so, she has drawn attention both to aspects of history that have been made invisible and to the extraordinary moments of daily life.
Active as an artist for over four decades, Lubaina Himid has also been a pioneering curator, championing artists from the diaspora. Initially trained as a theater designer at Wimbledon College of Art before completing a master’s degree at the Royal College of Art in London, Lubaina Himid has since developed a powerful and singular body of work whose imagery and inspiration draw as much from her interest in theater and opera, the history of Western painting and textile patterns from around the world, as from her exploration of colonial histories and their contemporary repercussions.
Comprising brightly colored paintings, monumental installations, and sound environments, Lubaina Himid. So Many Dreams offers a unique opportunity to discover the scope and depth of the artist’s work. The exhibition unfolds along several narratives that touch on the question of places and their histories, historical memory and its resurgence in the present, and the transmission of certain stories through color, patterns, and sound. Narrative is never straightforward or linear. The artist creates spaces in her paintings which invite us to question the place each of the depicted figures occupies and the place we, too, occupy. The exhibition galleries unfold like the scenes of a play in which visitors are active participants.
Series of paintings, including Revenge (1991-1992), Plan B (1999), and Le Rodeur (2016-2018) have been brought together here for the first time, generating a dialogue with works from every period of the artist’s output, from the famous installation A Fashionable Marriage (1984) to the most recent sound installations like Old Boat/New Money (2019) and Blue Grid Test (2020). What are monuments for? What does love sound like? How do you distinguish safety from danger? Through her luminous and powerful body of work and the questions it raises, Lubaina Himid offers us views of history that have been revisited through the prism of the imagination.