Lubaina Himid

REMINDER OF AN ANCIENT FETISH
2016
acrylic and pencil on paper
40 1/8 x 28 3/8 inches

Lubaina Himid was born in 1954 in Zanzibar, Tanzania. And though she left Tanzania to move to the UK shortly after her birth, her African heritage has remained present in her work as an artist, curator, and advocate. Many of Himid’s paintings, drawings, prints, and installations explore black identity, at times critiquing institutional invisibility and omission. A recent series of works on paper take their inspiration from kangas – colorful cloth wraps worn by East African women – that feature a patterned border on all sides, a central section, and row of text, which is often a proverb or slogan. In this work, the text is taken from cultural critic Walter Benjamin’s archive, and is a caption for a straw doll made during the summer harvest. Now divorced from its original context, the phrase acts as a mysterious, if slightly sinister, comment on history and power. Himid has exhibited her work internationally and is a finalist for the 2017 Turner Prize.

estimated retail value: $14,000

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courtesy of the artist and hollybush gardens, london
gallery website: hollybushgardens.co.uk