Himid, Lubaina (20 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 20: [Session Eight: 16 January 2007] [1:19:31] ‘Naming the Money’; how the project started. Lucy Whetstone at Hatton Gallery invited LH to work with the collection. Found crates of fabric, fragments of clothes. Describes three paintings LH had seen in La Rochelle of black slave servants, gift from king of Spain to king of France. Development of idea from 10 portraits to 100 cut-outs. Seeing Gary Hume show; mentions Jenny Lomax from Camden Arts Centre. First drawings; designed 10 groups of people - drummers, herbalists etc. First time LH has used assistants to make cut-outs; via friend/painter Mark Parkinson. Making the texts and soundtrack; Cuban, American jazz, French baroque music. Describes the cut-outs; the making of. Children’s responses to the show. Catalogue; made with LH’s partner Susan Walsh [SW]; texts; documenting the making of the project. 16 of the cut-outs are to be shown at V&A in ‘Uncomfortable Truths’ exhibition (2007). Hopes ‘Naming the Money’ will have a life beyond these showings. How the fabric fragments inspired the project; refers to ‘Inside the Invisible’. Some of the fragments were displayed at Hatton Gallery concurrent with LH’s original drawings. Education work which came from the show, with asylum seekers, school groups. Describes the show; how the soundtrack worked; arrangement of cut-outs in three rooms. Made short film of the show; will do so also at V&A, then Salford and Hull; will produce one long film, to accompany catalogue. How the 16 will be shown at V&A British Galleries; compromises LH has gone through with the V&A show; losing the impact of being in room with 100 cut-out people. An intervention into the collection; LH is more and more interested in this way of showing. Initial interest in theatre in the street; art being read against something else; working with museum curators. Early works were critical of museums’ acquiring of objects. Now more a celebration of museums; loves to look at beautiful objects; loves idea of free learning space, where you don’t need to own the objects. Process of making 100 cut-outs; enjoys the task of painting; work rate - knew it was achievable. Working toward premeditated result; relates to training as theatre designer. The fun of being in a room with the cut-outs. Exhaustion; feels it is last time she will make cut-outs. Detailed description of one cut-out, a herbalist. Matching up texts with the cut-outs. The cut-outs are robust, though not varnished; weren’t damaged; refers to ‘Revenge’ paintings being attacked. Attempts to donate ‘Naming the Money’ to a public collection, probably an American museum; cut-outs, catalogue, website and SW’s film. How LH feels about black artists being put in exhibitions to mark anniversaries, black history month etc; used to tick boxes. 2007’s 200th anniversary of abolition of slave trade; LH’s views on whether present government should apologise/pay reparations; with Alan Rice and Susan Ashworth, was involved in trying to get monument in Lancaster. [1:03:32] Still sees herself as a political artist. Wants to make lovely things, but also concerned with what the art says; inviting viewer to have an opinion. Projects since ‘Naming the Money’ have become political. Describes current project working with Kanga (East African) textiles; paintings on canvas. [1:10:00] Also currently working toward show (2007) for Lancashire Museums; making dinner service for the Judges Lodgings in Lancaster. Gillow’s furniture, Gillow was merchant who had part ownership in slave ships. Collecting old tureens, bowls, plates - 100 pieces; describes subject matter painted onto the dinner service; reasons for title ‘Swallow Hard’; imagery inspired by Gillray cartoons and The Beano; refers to ‘Fashionable Marriage’. [1:19:31]