Himid, Lubaina (7 of 23). National Life Stories: Artists' Lives
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2006-09-11, 2006-09-12, 2006-10-02, 2006-10-03, 2006-11-06, 2006-11-07, 2007-01-15, 2007-01-16
Interviewee's home, Preston
Himid, Lubaina, 1954- (speaker, female)
Dyke, Anna, (speaker, female)
Part 7: [57:04] Start of 6-year relationship with MR. MR returned from Australia; bought house (in Clapham). LH’s difficult trip to New York with MR; stayed in Chelsea Hotel. Relationship with MR, compared to PT. MR’s family background; Russian character; brilliant cook, gardener; sociable; describes house, paintings. Paintings by MR and father Ron Russell - influence on LH’s cutouts in use of paint and colour, compared to use of paint in textiles/theatre design. MR’s artist friends included Gary Stevens, Mina Thornton, Claire Pajaczkowska - different set to LH’s friends, black women artists. Learnt about political activism via MR’s work with Race Equality Unit; political situation in London. MR’s mother Russian, father Australian - understood coming from somewhere else. LH more interested in softer, personal activism, but learnt to become organised, make connections. MR would drive the artists’ work in transit van - eg. of the hidden contributions to black women’s art in Britain. (Lack of) money and transport affects the work one is able to make. MR’s art wasn’t political; white feminist art was sidelined in favour of black women’s art; so LH was beginning to exhibit, while MR wasn’t. [26:25] Artists from Australia would stay in MR’s house; LH preferred privacy. Richard Jones, theatre director, was friend of MR, studied anthropology together at Hull, deciding to enter theatre world; LH introduced Richard Jones to RH. LH was glad to not be in conservative theatre world; still has fantasy productions. [30:58] Reflects on relationship with MR, their personalities; holidays in La Rochelle and Napoleon’s island - influenced LH’s idea of small museum. Was monogamous; working hard - was/is unfaithful with the art. [38:52] LH’s politics; feminist, but LH and MR weren’t political feminists or political lesbians; Thatcher vs.GLC party politics. LH anxious to make changes fast re-black equality; didn’t then see the broader view. Only thought she could make impact via art, make it possible to be a black artist. [45:12] Self-portrait early ‘80s; angry, frustrated; struggling with detail of making shows; dealing with RCA, black women artists, the art world, being a lesbian, earning a living, how to get a house/job etc. Making shows - so looked as if she knew what she was doing, but didn’t have strategy. Good at speaking on other’s behalf. Appearance, clothes, self-image. Fit - walked everywhere; but asthma for 10 years, from anxiety. [Staff interruption] [57:04]