Spike Island presents the first major survey of British artist Lubaina Himid, a pioneer of the Black Arts Movement in Britain in the 1980s. Known primarily as a painter, Himid has also made significant contributions as a curator, archivist and writer focused on the experience of the black diaspora in Britain over the past 30 years.
Himid is a steadfast advocate for the contribution that black artists have made to visual art in Britain. To celebrate her ongoing legacy, Spike Island, Modern Art Oxford and Nottingham Contemporary are presenting simultaneous exhibitions, while works selected from these exhibitions are later touring to firstsite, Colchester and Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston.
At Spike Island, Navigation Charts focusses on three longstanding concerns for Himid: migration, labour and creativity. The exhibition is anchored by Naming the Money (2004), a spectacular installation of 100 life-size, painted figures that has been shown only once before in its entirety. The work portrays a mass gathering of African slave/servants from the courts of 18th century Europe, including ceramicists, herbalists, dog trainers, toy makers, drummers, dancing masters, viola de gamba players, shoe makers, map makers and painters, while a recorded voiceover reveals their original names and true identities. Himid explores notions of invisibility and belonging, as the artist herself stated "what it means to make the best of a life unpaid and abused that may have been thrust upon you".
The presentation at Spike Island brings into dialogue major works from the past 20 years, honing in on Himid's theatrical use of cut-outs, colour and pattern. In her work Cotton.com (2003) Himid's fabric patterns and text imagine communications between cotton workers divided by the Atlantic; from the harsh working conditions of the mills in Manchester to the enslaved African men, women and children tending and picking the cotton on the plantations in the American South.
To acompany Himid's exhibition at Spike Island, an extended public programme of symposia, screenings, artist talks and workshops engages with topics of labour, migration and black identity.
Lubaina Himid (b. 1954, Zanzibar, Tanzania) lives and works in Preston, Lancashire.
Preview: Thursday 19 January 2016, 6–9pm
20 January to 26 March 2017 - 12pm to 5pm
Map & Directions
133 Cumberland Road
Tel: +44 1179 292266
|Date: (20 Jan 2017 - 26 Mar 2017)|
* Exhibition opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 12pm to 5pm