Himid, Lubaina 12 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 12: [1:08:23] LH’s GLC mural, 1985; panels made in studio belonging to Faith Gillespie [spell?] in Wapping, overlooking river; assisted by student Simone Alexander. Describes mural composition; figures and poodles; political references to police, politicians, black heroic figures. Used leftover paint on own work later. Critical responses; LH determined to not make heroes from victims - conflict with sponsors’ wishes, eg. Parminder Vir of GLC; victim ‘heroes’ from Notting Hill 1950s riots. LH included writers, poets. Assumptions made of commissions to black artists. Mural in children’s park; poodle-police were defaced; public know when something has been imposed on them. Fast work-rate then; studio; strong - could carry 8x4ft ply panels. [Sound dropout 16:39] ‘From Two Worlds’ at Whitechapel; Nic Serota; pressure from GLC, to show black artists’ work; LH, EC, SB among those asked to co-curate; LH and EC walked away from the role. Focussed on running Elbow Room in own way, and making less-satirical work about mixed heritage, ie. not the work expected of her. Describes series of works using found materials; painting of paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather, text. SB and VR invited LH to be in ‘From Two Worlds’. Nic Serota comment about LH’s ‘unexpected’ work. Positive feeling about being able to show this quieter work. The painting is in Birmingham City Art Gallery collection along with later work ‘Plan B’. Opinion of ‘From Two Worlds’ show; VR’s work; proper catalogue; but still a ‘ticking-a-box’ show; Serota’s influence. Describes Saleem Arif’s work. Lack of follow-up for these artists in twenty years since, eg. at Whitechapel, or Camden Arts Centre - Jenny Lomax, or at ICA - except David A. Bailey [DB]. [38:18] Never saw ‘YBA’ generation coming; DB may have done. SB at Gimpel Fils; LH and VR at Blond. TTBL opening on same night as Turner Prize judging. LH not aware-enough of other artists; not trained in fine art world. Was looking at public collections, history; rather than contemporary, commercial galleries. Influenced by politics, not contemporary art. Looking at Hogarth, English paintings which include black presence; Modernism, coming from African source. Wanted to gain a respectability; encouragement to black artists; being in museum collection - visible contribution to cultural history - being able to see yourself; lack of positive images of black people in media at the time. LH’s shows more about making/developing the work, rather than audience. Opinion of Turner Prize, YBAs’ shows; relationship between making serious art and adopting self-mocking strategy, eg. Chris Ofili’s dung, Hirst’s dissected cow. LH by then outside London - looking at it from outside, less affected by it. Always had eye on winning Turner Prize, useful impetus; as years went on, understood it as publicity tool - not about changing things. Problem of being outside creative environment of London. Aspiring to make work that could win Turner Prize, ie. had impact. Liked Turner Prize work of Mike Nelson, Isaac Julien. Describes personal reaction to great work, eg. Bridget Riley. Being away from accidental creative jolts of living in London. [1:08:23]

  • Related transcripts

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

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