Himid, Lubaina (16 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 16: [1:11:49] ‘Revenge’ (at Rochdale); making the work at same time as teaching. Interested in making a memorial to slave trade, and finding a way of depicting two black women in a painting. Series of paper works, plans for monument fountain; referencing stories of captains of slave ships who drowned slaves for insurance money; ‘Memorial for Zong’. Describes design for pool, cascade of plates with designs depicting creative Africans; critiquing tendency to think of refugees and slaves as having no individual identity. Discovering Turner’s ‘Slave Ship’, bought by Ruskin; also making a memorial to these lost people. Describes each of four canvas paintings depicting two black women. ‘Between the Two My Heart is Balanced’ or Two Women in a Boat; reference to Tissot study for ‘Portsmouth Harbour’; bought by Tate Britain; always on display, used for calendars, postcards, education packs. Story of how Tate purchased the painting in 1994; Virginia Button had wanted to buy one of LH’s cut-out men, but too explicit. ‘Revenge’ then shown at South Bank Centre, while Georgia O’Keefe at Hayward. Paintings were attacked with screwdriver, through eyes and mouths; so had to sell the work as restored. LH’s reaction to the paintings being attacked. Difficult subject matter for painting; no precedents. [23:47] Bought for exhibition ‘Picturing Blackness for Today’; Sheena Wagstaff showed it in ‘Representing Painting 1500-2000’. Tate haven’t bought anything since; but ongoing relationship; refers to ‘Venetian Maps’ series; ‘Between the Two’ is always used; LH is invited to shows, lunches with curators, 1998 studio time in St Ives. Story of offering Tate/Nic Serota all of ‘Naming the Money’, 100 cut-outs; speculates on reason for it not happening; refers to V&A show (in 2007). [32:25] Showing in Havana Biennale - MS’ negotiations. KP, CB, Mona Hatoum [MH]. LH showed ‘Vernet’s Studio’, installation of 26 cut-outs, originally made for Transmission Gallery. Women’s images of women, eg. Frida Kahlo, O’Keefe, Le Brun, CJ, Betye Saar, Faith Ringgold, Rosemarie Trockel, Gwendoline Knight. Installing the work. Impact of being in Cuba, just before people were escaping. Reasons for always wanting to go there; observing its sad reality. Meeting Betye and Lesley Saar. [41:12] Describes Betye Saar’s work. Going to openings; venues. Observing Cuban society hierarchy - white people. Describes LH’s cut-outs; idea behind Vernet’s Studio, as a hypothetical environment for women artists; eg. Marisol, Rego. Also a puzzle for women art students to converse with women artists. Interest in ‘women artists’ out of fashion in art schools; refers to Gillian Wearing, Tracey Emin. Admires women artists in general for keeping going. Gwen John. Reasons for choosing Jenny Holzer and Paula Rego. [56:11] Reconnecting with British artists; up to then, first biennale for any of them; the biennale was about ethnicity of the artists as well as the work; KP, Gavin Jantjes, CB, MH. Opinion of MH’s work; KP and CB’s work. [1:04:59] Black American art historians discovering Black British Art of ‘80s; Stuart Hall, Paul Gilroy; DB, IP; shows in New York galleries. LH shows paper works at Peg Alston Gallery, introduced via MS. MS showed at Bernice Steinbaum Gallery. Younger art historians making a name for themselves, writing about a different art movement; eg. Mora Byrd, organiser of ‘Transforming the Crown’ survey show. By mid ‘90s the movement had already become history; started something in Europe that hadn’t been done before; British art school system. [1:11:49] [End of recording]

  • Related transcripts

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

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