When I first encountered Lubaina Himid’s paintings and installation pieces, I didn’t understand how such vibrant, vital work could have emerged from such a colourless place as Preston, a city in Lancashire close to where I grew up, and the place where Lubaina lives, paints and teaches. The streets of this place are visibly afflicted by the symptoms of Conservative Britain: chronic unemployment, abandoned infrastructure, and a serious lack of anything much to do.
Lubaina’s house is a reprieve – she invited me in through her yellow door on a damp August afternoon, and made tea that we drank in her studio. The conversation was wide-ranging and at some points slightly combative. A month after the piece was published, Lubaina became the first black woman to win the Turner Prize.
Lubaina Himid won’t read this article. As she will tell me later, the debates that happen in the headlines often represent the aspects she finds least important in her own practice. It is precisely her lack of interest in superficial debate that instils her work with a sense of energetic focus that she has held to steadfastly across four decades.
This interview was published by the excellent Corridor8, here.