Lubaina Himid was born in 1954 in Zanzibar, Tanzania, and raised in the UK. She trained in Theatre Design at Wimbledon College of Art and received an MA in Cultural History from the Royal College of Art. Himid's work spans painting, drawing, installation and printmaking, all characterised by bold patterns and vibrant colours. Working with mixed media, Himid paints on a variety of surfaces, including ceramic and wood, often producing objects and sculptures with performative elements.
Engaged with uncovering marginalised and silenced histories, figures, and cultural moments, Himid's practice also addresses her own heritage. A member of the Black Arts Movement of the 1980s, her work is politically critical, tackling questions of race, gender and class. Her work also engages with the tradition of history painting in the Western canon; Hogarth's paintings and engravings depicting satirical morality tales, have long held a fascination for Himid.
In many areas of her work Himid collaborates with Magda Stawarska, a multi-disciplinary artist working predominantly with sound, moving image and print. Stawarska, who has exhibited internationally, most recently created sound compositions that were central to Himid’s exhibitions at Tate, London (2021) and New Museum, New York (2019).
Stawarska who was born in Poland, but lives and works in England, is a master printmaker and has made prints with Himid since 2005. Their most recent project is a body of 24 hand-painted screenprints published by Cristea Roberts Gallery in 2022.
Himid has exhibited extensively in the UK and abroad. A major exhibition of Himid’s work was exhibited at Tate Modern, London in 2021 and travelled to Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne in 2022. Further significant solo exhibitions include Cristea Roberts Gallery, London (2023); Hollybush Gardens, London (2022); Tate Britain, London (2019); Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, The Netherlands (2019); CAPC Bordeaux, France (2019); New Museum, New York (2019); MRAC Languedoc Roussillon Midi-Pyrénées, Sérignan (2018); BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2018); Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2017); Spike Island, Bristol (2017); and Modern Art Oxford (2017).
Selected group exhibitions include Sharjah Biennial, UAE (2019 and 2023); Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Étienne Métropole, Saint-Priest-en-Jarez, France (2022); Tate Britain, London (2021); The British Textile Biennial, UK (2021); Hayward Gallery, London (2021); Esker Foundation, Calgary, Canada (2021); Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix, London (2021); Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah (2021); Frieze Sculpture, London (2020); WIELS, Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels (2020); Hayward Touring exhibition (2020); The High Line, New York (2019–2020); Glasgow International (2018); Berlin Biennale (2018).
Her work is held in various museum and public collections, including Tate; British Council Collection; Arts Council Collection; UK Government Art Collection; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; National Museums Liverpool; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and Rhode Island School of Design, Providence.
Himid's curatorial practice has championed the work of other Black artists, especially women. She has curated significant group exhibitions, including The Thin Black Line at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (1985), which was revisited in the exhibition Thin Black Line(s) at Tate Britain (2011-12). An Arts Council Collection touring exhibition curated by Himid and entitled Found Cities, Lost Objects: Women in the City is travelling through the UK in 2022 and 2023.
Himid is Emeritus Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire. In 2010 she was awarded an MBE and in 2018 was awarded a CBE. In 2017 she became the first Black woman to win the Turner Prize. The following year she was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts. A monograph, entitled Lubaina Himid: Workshop Manual, was published in 2019 by Koenig Books.
Himid is the recipient of the 2024 Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize. As part of the award Himid will present a solo exhibition at The Contemporary Austin in Texas, during Spring 2024, which will travel to New York later in the year.
Cristea Roberts Gallery published their first print project with Himid in 2022.
Lubaina Himid lives and works in Preston, England.