press release

Turner Prize 2017: Lubaina Himid

Lubaina Himid was born in 1954 in Zanzibar, Tanzania. She studied Theatre Design at Wimbledon College of Art and an M.A in Cultural History at the Royal College of Art. She is Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire. Recent solo exhibitions include Navigation Charts, Spike Island, Bristol, UK and Invisible Strategies, Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, UK (both 2017). Recent group exhibitions include The Place is Here, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK (2017); The 1980s Today’s Beginnings?, Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, Netherlands (2016); Keywords, Tate Liverpool, UK (2014); and Burning Down the House, Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2014). From 1986–1990 Himid was director of the Elbow Room and has curated exhibitions including Carte de Visite, Hollybush Gardens, London, UK (2015); The Thin Black Line, ICA, London, UK (1986); and Critical, Donald Rodney, Rochdale Art Gallery, Rochdale, UK (1989).

Himid makes paintings, prints, drawings and installations which celebrate Black creativity and the people of the African diaspora while challenging institutional invisibility. She references the slave industry and its legacies, and addresses the hidden and neglected cultural contribution made by real but forgotten people. In Naming the Money 2014, 100 cut-out life size figures depict Black servants and labourers who Himid individualises, giving each of them a name and story to work against the sense of the powerless mass. She often takes her paintings off the gallery wall so that her images become objects that surround the viewer. Whether working on Guardian newspapers or directly onto porcelain tableware, Himid continually subjects painting to the material of everyday life in order to explore Black identity.

Himid repeatedly questions the historical role of portraiture, as in works such as A Fashionable Marriage 1987, recently exhibited in The Place is Here at Nottingham Contemporary (2017). Inspired by William Hogarth’s Marriage a la Mode 4 (The Countess’s Morning Levee) 1743, this installation features a brightly coloured stage set with a cast of characters taken from Hogarth’s morality tale. Incorporating painting, drawing and collage on cut-outs, the installation relates its historical inspiration to our current climate by including contemporary newspaper headlines and images of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Himid’s satirical approach takes aim at the politics of the time as well as its legacy today. In works such as these, the artist appropriates and interrogates European painters and combines aspects of her African heritage to question the role of visual power.

Alongside her artistic practice Himid has curated exhibitions to showcase underrepresented Black artists. As an artist, advocate and curator she has facilitated and celebrated the role of Black artists and their contributions to contemporary society.

Lubaina Himid is 62 and lives and works in Preston.

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The four shortlisted artists for the Turner Prize 2017 are:
Hurvin Anderson, Andrea Büttner, Lubaina Himid, Rosalind Nashashibi

Tate Britain today announced the four artists who have been shortlisted for the Turner Prize 2017. The artists are (in alphabetical order): Hurvin Anderson, Andrea Büttner, Lubaina Himid and Rosalind Nashashibi. This year an exhibition of work by the four shortlisted artists will be held at Ferens Art Gallery in Hull as part of the UK City of Culture celebrations from 26 September 2017 to 7 January 2018. The winner will be announced on 5 December 2017 at an award ceremony live on the BBC, the broadcast partner for the Turner Prize.

HURVIN ANDERSON

For his solo exhibitions Hurvin Anderson: Dub Versions at New Art Exchange in Nottingham and Hurvin Anderson: Backdrop at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Canada. The jury praised Anderson as an outstanding British painter whose art speaks to our current political moment with questions about identity and belonging, and recognised a deeper interplay between figuration and abstraction in his work. Drawing from art history as much as his own Caribbean heritage, the artist’s dream-like paintings are compositionally dense and vibrant, combining geometric and gestural shapes alongside portraiture, landscape and still-life.

ANDREA BÜTTNER

For her solo exhibitions Andrea Büttner: Gesamtzusammenhang at Kunsthalle Sankt Gallen in Switzerland and Andrea Büttner at David Kordansky in Los Angeles. The jury noted Büttner’s unique approach to collaboration and her exploration of religion, morality and ethics, articulated through a wide range of media including printmaking, sculpture, video and painting. Often incorporating archival material, Büttner’s exhibitions investigate shame, vulnerability and poverty. Using low media such as woodcuts or home videos, Büttner is interested in the role of the amateur in the production of culture.

LUBAINA HIMID

For projects including solo exhibitions Lubaina Himid: Invisible Strategies at Modern Art Oxford and Navigation Charts at Spike Island in Bristol, as well as her participation in group exhibition The Place is Here at Nottingham Contemporary. The jury praised these exhibitions for addressing pertinent questions of personal and political identity. As a key figure of the Black Arts Movement, Himid has consistently foregrounded the contribution of African diaspora to Western culture. Working across painting, installation, drawing and printmaking, and bringing both old and new work together, her work is both visually arresting and critical.

ROSALIND NASHASHIBI For her solo exhibition On This Island at The University Art Galleries at UC Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts in California, and her participation in Documenta 14. The jury was impressed by the depth and maturity of Nashashibi’s work, which often examines sites of human occupation and the coded relationships that occur within those spaces – whether a family home or garden, a ship or the Gaza Strip. Her films use the camera as an eye to observe moments and events, contrasting reality with moments of fantasy and myth. They show how the intimate and everyday collide with issues of surveillance and control.

One of the best known prizes for the visual arts in the world, the Turner Prize aims to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary British art. Established in 1984, it is awarded to a British artist for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the twelve months preceding 24 April 2017. The Turner Prize award is £40,000 with £25,000 going to the winner and £5,000 each for the other shortlisted artists. Every other year, the prize leaves Tate Britain and is presented at a venue outside London.

The members of the Turner Prize 2017 jury are Dan Fox, writer and co-editor of Frieze; Martin Herbert, art critic; Mason Leaver-Yap, Walker Art Center’s Bentson Scholar of Moving Image and Associate Curator at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin; and Emily Pethick, Director of Showroom.The jury is chaired by Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain.

The broadcast partnership is a three-year commitment which will see the BBC support the award across a range of its outlets including BBC Arts, BBC Online and BBC World Service.

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FERENS ART GALLERY

Opened in 1927, the Ferens Art Gallery was gifted to the city by TR Ferens, a local industrialist who also established a purchasing fund that has allowed the Ferens’ collections to grow in quality and range. Recent acquisitions include a neon artwork by two Dutch contemporary artists, Bik van der Pol, and a nationally significant 14th century masterpiece by Pietro Lorenzetti. The gallery’s notable permanent exhibition includes works by Frans Hals, Canaletto, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Mark Wallinger. Home to work by renowned artists from the 14th century to the present day, the gallery has undergone its biggest refurbishment and since re-opening on 13 January 2017, the gallery has welcomed unprecedented visitor numbers and was claimed by the Guardian’s Art Critic as "a masterpiece in itself".

The gallery is hosting the Turner Prize as one of its major events during Hull’s UK City of Culture 2017 programme as well as a dramatic exhibition SKIN, on display until 13 August. It explores how modern and contemporary artists respond to the human figure with world renowned works by one of the world’s greatest realist painters Lucian Freud, leading sculpture Ron Mueck and American photographer Spencer Tunick.