LUBAINA HIMID

Lubaina Himid made a new series of paintings for BLUSH our Summer Season in 2016 entitled Dreaming has a Share in History : New Kangas from the Archive.

Lubaina Himid’s new collection paintings on paper, entitled ‘Dreaming has a Share in History : New Kangas from the Archive’, were shown in the study room, in the middle of the house. Designed to be as useful as a list, as random as a horoscope and as efficient as an illustrated memory, these picture postcards with texts by Walter Benjamin examine the wisdom of yesterday and the unpredictability of tomorrow.

The work opens with scenes at familiar railway stations from a past life; fast trains present blurred window films of crossing borders, snowy mountains and vast stretches of icy water, punctuated by golf courses, bridges and a well beloved football ground. There are several sudden arrivals in a sports car at a romantic idyll, pink and perfect, nestling on the north sea coast as if for a house party in a detective novel where invisible servants waste their lives and the arguments about art and legacy shiver through every room. This is followed by rushed departures from a false reality, clutching nourishing food parcels for the long journey back to a vaguely disorienting but endlessly timetabled world.

A central motif of the paintings is the Kanga, everyday clothing for East African women. The sense of cloth, its manufacture and decoration are central to this new body of work. The Kanga is a ubiquitous garment yet in its simplicity these squares of cloth hold great power in the various ways that they can be personalised. These beautifully designed, sections of cloth meant to be draped across the body often include symbolic texts; slogans, prayers or mottoes.

Himid also invited two other artists, Rebecca Chesney and Ingrid Pollard to contribute to the weekend, in line with a recurring brokering approach in her life as an educator and exhibition organiser in which she recognises that more always happens in groups.

The paintings were exhibited as part of a weekend of talks and workshops, alongside another solo presentation by Canadian artist Tamara Henderson.


Lubaina Himid was born in Zanzibar and is based in Preston in the north of England. Her work investigates historical representations of the people of African diaspora and highlights the importance of their cultural contribution to the contemporary landscape. She was one of the pioneers of the Black Art movement in the 1980s, which offered a forum for black artists exploring the social and political issues surrounding black history and identity. She is professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire.