Himid, Lubaina (10 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 10: [1:45:21] Process of organising ‘Five Black Women’ at the Africa Centre; they organised private view, invites etc; no catalogue. Hanging/arranging each artist’s work; all given equal status. Transporting the work; support from Africa Centre. 4 or 5 months to organise. Describes space. Organising BWTN; part of black women’s festival, theatre etc - organised by LH, YB and other women. Describes gallery in three spaces; trying to maintain equal status in the hanging; IP’s jumpers and tinted photographs; MK’s photographs; Houria Niati’s paintings; SB; VR; Leslee Wills’ textiles. Technical help from MR. First meeting MS at the opening, who later became integral part of how black women showed their work. MS was writer and poet; had worked with IP; started Black Women’s Creativity Project, put on ‘Check-It’ at Drill Hall, and show at People’s Gallery in Camden, in lead-up time to ‘The Thin Black Line’ [TTBL]. [24:32] LH, still at RCA, co-curated (with Pogus Ceasar) exhibition at Mappin Gallery, Sheffield, ‘Into The Open’; Mike Toobey, Julian Spalding. Artists included: KP, DR, EC, Tam Joseph, Uzo Egonu [UE], Sylbert Bolton, Juginder Lamba, Bill Ming, Tony Moo-Young. First time seeing work carefully packed in crates etc, treated as serious artwork. UE’s work. Example of local govt exhibitions - the show featured quantity/many artists, rather than focus on work of few artists. Catalogue, listings, invigilators, tours etc - ie. moved into a new league. Audience response; no art press coverage until TTBL. [Staff interruption 37:55] Response to lack of art reviews for the shows; use of term ‘angry’. Waldemar Januszczak’s criticism of TTBL; critics disliked being confronted in art space. How TTBL happened; ICA curator Declan McGonagle [DM], assistant Andrea Schlieker [AS]; GLC funding; LH was invited to put on exhibition. Only given thin corridor between main spaces; put limitations on show - so LH only selected women. 11 artists. Idea for the hanging; VR also given 2 weeks in Nash room. CJ, Sutapa Biswas, Jennifer Comrie, Marlene Smith, LH, Chila Burman [CB], Brenda Agard, MS, IP, SB. Describes the layout. MS’ idea - which didn’t happen - for pastiche of Dali’s ‘Crucifixion’. Referencing art history eg. CB’s body prints, VR’s sculptures. LH’s best show; two versions of the catalogue; all the artists gave talks - audience included Dorothea Smart, GLC’s Parminder [Vir]. TTBL name. Crowded private view; coincided with announcement of first Turner Prize winner. Struggle to put on TTBL, compared to earlier shows. Bill [surname?], DM, AS. Hasn’t since been a show like it - lack of long-term impact; mentions ‘State of the Art’; had assumed there would be follow-up shows. Building-up of collectors didn’t happen, eg. VR. Describes VR’s work; compares to Anthony Gormley. Describes LH’s ‘Carrot Piece’, a comment on the show. Sutapa Biswas’ pastel work; avoiding pretentiousness of painting; Jennifer Comrie; Marlene Smith; SB; CJ. Photographs by Brenda Agard, IP; MS’ collage. No hierarchy. CB’s body prints. Impact of TTBL; but not launchpad into mainstream. Critics: Caryn Faure Walker; ‘cultural terrorism’. [1:16:20] Artist-curators were disregarded; LH’s decision not to wait for someone else to do it. If had stayed in London, would have moved toward curating - more confident as curator than artist. Opened gallery space in Borough (the Elbow Room), warehouse space owned by PT. One show ‘Unrecorded Truths’; didn’t include own work; City Limits review. Showing rather than selling; new work by SB, DR, KP, Allan de Souza, Marlene Smith. Liked role of director. Sandy Nairne making ‘State of the Art’, came to see the show. Working with MS. Private view; David A. Bailey, John Akomfrah, Trevor Mathison; black art world - identifying cultural community. The Elbow Room name; big space; big work; DR having too much work for the space. Caryn Faure Walker, then at Gimpel Fils, taking SB’s work before the show closed - LH’s response. [1:32:34] LH’s selection of the 11 artists in TTBL; SB, MS, CB, VR, Marlene Smith, CJ; risk-takers. Refers to Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst. TTBL about opening-up conversations, rather than sensation. Wanted it to give artists the nerve to keep going; Brenda Agard, SB; lack of support system in art world; LH and VR briefly with Blond Fine Art. Would love to make another TTBL. [1:45:21] [End of recording]