Lubaina Himid RA (b. 1954)

Born in Zanzibar in 1954, Lubaina Himid is a British painter who has dedicated her thirty-year-long career to uncovering marginalised and silenced histories, figures, and cultural moments.

Himid first studied Theatre Design at Wimbledon College of Art, choosing the discipline for the connections it bore with radical politics, and in particular Black politics. She went on to receive an MA in Cultural History from the Royal College of Art.

Himid creates paintings, drawings, prints and installations. She paints on a variety of surfaces, including ceramic and wood, often producing objects with performative potential intended to be encountered in a space. Her work addresses her heritage and has been driven by two recurrent aspirations: to develop and sustain a conversation with an audience, and to valorise, she says, ‘the contribution black people have made to cultural life in Europe for the past several hundred years’.

Himid is deeply engaged with the problem of the lack of representation of Black and Asian women in the art world, and she has been committed to showing the work of underrepresented contemporaries. 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).

Himid lives and works in Preston, UK and is a professor at the University of Central Lancashire. She was awarded the Turner Prize in 2017 and was made a CBE for services to art in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours. She has exhibited extensively in the UK and abroad. Her solo exhibitions include: The New Museum, New York (upcoming 2019); Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, The Netherlands (upcoming 2019); Gifts to Kings, MRAC Languedoc Roussillon Midi-Pyrénées, Sérignan, France (2018); Navigation Charts, Spike Island, Bristol (2017); Invisible Strategies, Modern Art Oxford (2017); The Truth Is Never Watertight, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany (2017). Significant group exhibitions include: Glasgow International (2018); We Don’t Need Another Hero, Berlin Biennale, Berlin (2018); The Place is Here, Nottingham Contemporary (2017); Keywords, Tate Liverpool (2014); and Burning Down the House, Gwangju Biennale (2014). A monograph, titled Lubaina Himid: Workshop Manual, was released in January 2019 (Koenig Books).


Royal Academician


Born: 1954 in Zanzibar

Nationality: British

Elected RA: 10 December 2018

Professor of Painting: 2020 -

Gender: Female

Preferred media: Painting, Printmaking, Drawing, and Illustration

Works by Lubaina Himid in the RA Collection

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