Himid, Lubaina (4 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 4: [1:03:48] LH age 10 when LP married PP; being introduced to him. LH as child felt responsible for looking after LP. LP’s boyfriends before PP. Life after LP and PP married; holidays travelling through Europe, Salzburg, Rhine, France, Italy, museums, churches, galleries - visual impact; PP took photographs; souvenirs, postcards. Pocket money; still unable to save up. Household chores; collecting rotten apples in toy wheelbarrow. No Saturday job. Age 16, worked in art gallery near Bond St - owned by Lyall Watson [LW], father-in-law of LH’s drama teacher - serving drinks at private views. LW’s artwork; guests; LH’s role. [19:12] PP’s character; LH’s relationship with him; music, stately homes, cars, cameras. LP and PP’s relationship. LH fell out with PP over Arab-Israeli War. Would dream about PP after he died. Impact of PP’s death on LP; during LH’s degree show. LH felt she had to look after LP again, but didn’t move back in with her. PP died of stroke; difficult life - family killed in concentration camp, did undercover work for Britain in Germany, imprisoned in Trieste; but didn’t speak much about his experiences. LH had to carry all PP’s clothes to charity shop. [33:24] First becoming politically aware, age 14, went on anti-apartheid marches with (white South African) boyfriend from Saturday art club; also LP had South African friends. Attended rally by Harold Wilson at Swiss Cottage library - his dealing with hecklers. Aware of party politics from reading newspapers, Sunday Express, from age 5 or 6; the Profumo Affair; The Gambols comic strip; LP and BB always talked about politics. LH loved party politics, reshuffles; the idea of voting; but never tempted to join Party/local level politics. Would have liked to be Minister of Culture; political aspect of LH’s work. [40:36] Maternal grandparents’ politics; EL attending a Mosley rally; probably voted Conservative, but did Socialist deeds, eg. fed workers during General Strike; always politically aware. LP and BB always voted Labour, but not activists; knew David Astor and journalists from Observer newspaper - guests at LP and BB’s parties. LH always aware of duty to vote, and duty to know what was on offer. Awareness of apartheid in South Africa and recent history of United States - motivating factor in LH’s work. Most challenging aspect of art school and theatre design - it refused engagement with politics. Not so aware of racial tensions in Britain; knew about Angela Davies, Black Power, but didn’t relate it to LH’s life in Britain. [53:12] Awareness of Women’s Movement; LP wasn’t Feminist; LH’s attitude to importance of women. Didn’t read Feminist books until after art school, late 1970s. At art school, more preoccupied with art, history, architecture, interior design. But wanted to be theatre designer in order to make sets for Brecht, street theatre - art to change the world. Only when starting the course, discovered it was about commercial theatre world, rather than politics. [58:17] Not involved in sexual politics movement, despite having sexual relationships with women - was never concerned about other people’s attitudes. As with tastes in painting, didn’t differentiate between people, genders. Not caring about others’ views re-drawing, writing, didn’t think in terms of being part of a movement. [1:03:48]

  • Related transcripts

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

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