Lubaina Himid Becomes Oldest Artist and First Black Woman to Win Turner Prize

Lubaina Himid has become the oldest winner of the Turner Prize, and the first black woman to pick up the art award.

The 63-year-old Zanzibar-born, Preston-based artist won the £25,000 prize for work addressing racial politics and the legacy of slavery.

The judges praised her “uncompromising tackling of issues including colonial history and how racism persists today”.

She was named the winner at a ceremony in Hull, currently UK City of Culture.

Who is Lubaina Himid?

Described in February by the Daily Telegraph as “the under-appreciated hero of black British art”, Himid made her name in the 1980s as one of the leaders of the British black arts movement – both painting and curating exhibitions of similarly overlooked artists.

But she has now got the recognition she deserves. Her section of the Turner Prize exhibition in Hull contains work from the 1980s to today, including wooden figures, pottery and newspapers that she has painted on.

The centrepiece is 1987’s A Fashionable Marriage, based on William Hogarth’s Marriage A-la Mode, which features a cast of cut-out characters including a flirting Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

There are also porcelain dinner sets, found in junk shops. Himid has painted images of black slaves on some and aristocrats – some of whom are vomiting at the news of the abolition of slavery – on others.

She has also painted over parts of newspaper pages to show how they “used black people in a very subtle way which could be said to undermine their identity.”

She is professor of contemporary art at the University of Central Lancashire and was made an MBE in 2010 for services to black women’s art.

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