Himid, Lubaina (2 of 23).  National Life Stories: Artists' Lives

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  • Recording date

    2006-09-11, 2006-09-12, 2006-10-02, 2006-10-03, 2006-11-06, 2006-11-07, 2007-01-15, 2007-01-16

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Preston

  • Interviewees

    Himid, Lubaina, 1954- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Dyke, Anna, (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 2: [1:28:26] LP’s relationship with LH’s father. LP at Royal College. He was doing degree in education; how they met. Photographs of them on holiday in Socialist camp in Austria; social circle; romance in England before he returned to Zanzibar to teach English; five-year relationship in total. He would have liked to be a drummer in a rock group. Photograph of paternal grandmother. 1964 coup in Zanzibar; so LH’s relatives, from Comoran Islands, moved to mainland Darussalam; lost any potential contact. Paternal grandmother married Indian man, so she was banished to Kenya; LH’s father brought her back in time for his marriage to LP. Grandmother’s wilful behaviour, eg. walked unescorted, and not fully-veiled, as a Muslim woman; brought by Portuguese couple from Comoran Islands to Zanzibar as child; family house built around courtyard. LH has made work about grandmother, in attempt to understand own history. Father had no siblings. LH’s names; father’s name Ramadhan Himid. Aware of ‘Himid’ as dangerous name since first hijackings etc. [22:31] Father’s family weren’t particularly religious. LP converted in order to marry. Speculates that Muslim side of family wouldn’t approve of LH; hasn’t gone searching for them. LP’s conversion; her life in Zanzibar. Grandmother’s marriage to Indian man. LH’s parents’ marriage. Mourning period after LH’s father died. LP and LH’s journey to England. Speculates on LH’s life if they’d stayed in Zanzibar; would still have been a teacher; LP would have worked with Kanga textiles. Revolution in Zanzibar - so would probably have come to England anyway. [38:09] LP’s relationship with LH’s father while in London; social circle of African law students, politicians. Maternal grandparents’ values; grandfather’s black market deals during war; Elizabeth (nee Halliwell) [EL] and Peter Longworth [PL]. EL came to live with LP and LH (age 8). EL’s character; played piano and sang in their pub; had previously been weaver; PL’s father was miner. EL and PL wanted to better themselves; sent LP and BB to school in London. EL and PL owned pubs, so ‘trade’ rather than working class; good at making money; spent it on cruises, expensive clothes, fee-paying schools, live-in nannies, coalman doubled as chauffeur; pubs attracted theatre people. PL died before LH born. House in Lytham St Annes/Blackpool; family holidays on beach - freezing; LH was indulged; Christmas. Comics, toys; [interruption] playing alone because LP was at work. Reading, making things; dolls house - links to theatre design; making plastic gardens. Listening to radio; television in later childhood. Reading Enid Blyton. LH’s imaginative world: dens, packed lunches, genteel adventures. Afraid of dying, then became resigned to it. Always aware of father’s death; ‘5th November’ chant. Also deaths of PL, EL. Father died age 33; LH never thought she would live very long. Understanding of death as child. LP has no belief in God/afterlife. At school in 1960s, LH wasn’t around religious people; but knows hymns, stories. Pet dog was ‘taken away’. No religion in maternal family. Response to EL’s death. PP’s death, at time of LH’s degree show. Period of LP talking about her mortality; answering questions re-family history for LH’s show ‘Double Life’; giving catalogues, cuttings to LH; what to do with LP’s things when she dies. Close relationship with LP; LP’s interest in LH’s work. Has avoided religion; cannot deal with being told how to behave; sees religion as social control; brought up to behave responsibly without needing set of rules. Interest in similarities between narratives in religions. More spiritual than LP; sees God in nature, people; optimistic. Religion - useful for men, not women. [1:28:26]

  • Related transcripts

    Lubaina Himid interviewed by Anna Dyke: full transcript of the interview

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