Lubiana Himid is the first Black woman artist to win England’s prestigious Turner Prize
The year of the Black woman artist continues strong, even in its waning days as Zanzibar’s Lubiana Himid wins the Turner Prize and 25,000 euros for, according to the judges, “uncompromising tackling of issues including colonial history and how racism persists today.”
The 63-year-old visual artist has a long history in the British Black Arts movement and she became known for painting work as well as curating and exhibiting the work of lesser-known artists. Originally a London-based artist, Himid had to move to Preston because she was broke, and according to her, “art schools were not employing Black women to teach in 1990.”
Her time at the Wimbledon Art School frustrated her because the traditional men who taught there tended to lean towards ballet or opera, while she wanted to make political theatre. Eventually Himid would land a job at the University of Central Lancashire, where she is now the Professor of Contemporary Art.
After winning the prize money, Himid told BBC News: “I was overlooked by critics, by press, but I was never overlooked by art historians or curators or other artists.”
Hamid also thinks that the value of her work extends beyond notoriety, noting: “I think it will get people talking, which is the point of my work….I spend quite a lot of my money working with other artists, sometimes asking them to make things or helping them to make things when maybe they didn’t get a grant or whatever. So I’ll do a bit of that. And I’ll buy some shoes.”