Lubaina Himid: The Truth is Never Watertight

Till–November 26, 2017
Badischer Kunstverein

Badischer Kunstverein presents the first survey exhibition by Lubaina Himid in Germany. As an artist, writer, and professor, Himid has dedicated her work to the discourse on migration, race, slavery and the representation of the Black body. Lubaina Himid played an active role in the Black Arts Movement in the 1980s and 1990s and curated a number of significant exhibitions of Black female artists. The Truth is Never Watertight brings together paintings from the 1980s to the present day, as well as cut-outs, painted wooden objects, and works on paper. Lubaina Himid has been nominated for the 2017 Turner Prize.

Himid's works fuse genres, styles, and patterns from numerous cultural backgrounds questioning preconceived ideas of belongings. She studied theatre design in the 1970s, and her interest in spatial orchestrations led to stage-like compositions in and outside of her paintings; or, as the artist herself states, it also channels “a desire to have art in the room, present, in the moment and not distant and framed within a rectangle.” Furthermore theatre opened up opportunities for political thought and action, first in real street settings and then in the imaginary spaces of her artworks. Flight and migration are main topics, as are questions of identity and origin, but also the loss of collective knowledge. Striking patterns, harking back to the influence of African, European, or Islamic ornamentation, develop their own language (“speaking clothes”). A series of Kangas (2008–12), reference the traditional patterns and motifs of an East African garment, supplemented here with texts by the artist dealing with peril and the will to survive. This atmosphere between harmony and dissonance is characteristic for Lubaina Himid’s works. It is often only at second glance that a reality marked by gender and racial oppression or colonial trauma is visualized, as in her current series Le Rodeur (2016–17).

Curated by Anja Casser

Public Programme:
November 18
4–5:30pm Artist talk by Lubaina Himid (English)
6–8pm Round table with Lubaina Himid and guest artists Mwangi Hutter, Nancy Mteki, Lerato Shadi (English)

A first extensive publication will be published in collaboration with Modern Art Oxford, Spike Island, and Nottingham Contemporary.

Badischer Kunstverein
Waldstraße 3
76133 Karlsruhe
T +49 721 28226
Opening Hours: Tuesday–Friday 11am–7pm,
Saturday–Sunday 11am–5pm

Image | Credits: Lubaina Himid. Courtesy the artist and Hollybush Gardens.

Graphic Design by Ishmael Annobil /  Web Development by Ruzanna Hovasapyan