06 December 2017

2017 Turner Prize winner - Lubaina Himid

What with the Turner Prize exhibition taking place in Hull (city of culture!) this year, I haven't seen the exhibition or paid the entire thing much attention. The only familiar name on the shortlist was Andrea Buttner, whose exhibition in Milton Keynes I saw some years ago.

This year the age restriction was abandonned, that's a step forward!

The winner was announced yesterday: she is 63 and has been making and exhibiting all her life (work from the 1980s onward is on her website); she's just never been in the limelight in quite this way.

She said she was never overlooked by curators or other artists but she was never in the press, perhaps because her work “was too complicated to talk about”. ... “I guess the issues I was dealing with were complex, many-layered, and you’ve got to sell newspapers.”

Having read this interview, and checked out a few other sources, I think Lubaina Himid is a good choice. Her work has messages, but it's visually appealing and positive. The juxtapositions can be surprising. You need to know only a little about it in order to start thinking about "the issues".  

I especially enjoyed the vivacity of the Lancaster Dinner Service -
Swallow Hard - Judges' Lodgings
At the end of that article there's a slideshow of some of her drawings, which "simply" combine patterned background and one object.

This installation of jelly moulds continues the painted ceramics theme; it's a spinoff of, or contribution to, an architectural competition for a pavilion. "Can we devise strategies for an architecture of pleasure?" she asks at the end of the video.

Kangas fit my dining table perfectly, size-wise, and I have a couple of favourites from Tanzania, whose messages I cannot read, so Lubaina Himid's painted "lost kangas" are of immediate interest. She talks about how they came to be part of the 2012 "Cotton - Global Threads" exhibition at the Whitworth, Manchester, here.
Kangas from the Lost Sample Book - Lubaina Himid. Photo: ©Denise Swanson
One of the Kangas from the Lost Sample Book (via)

She loves to juxtapose text, spoken or written, with pattern (the pattern is speaking too).

Her work has many more aspects, and as with so many artists now there's a lot about identity and colonial history, as well as "institutional invisibility" in it. 

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