The Turner Prize-nominated Lubaina Himid presents Meticulous Observations and Naming the Money, a powerful new exhibition at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery. The show is part of The Arts Council Collection National Partners programme, which runs from 7 October 2017 to 18 March 2018, also includes a display of Arts Council Collection artworks selected by Lubaina.
Lubaina Himid is one of the most influential artists working in the UK today
Lubaina’s selection features ten artworks, which are all by women, from the Arts Council Collection. These include works by Prunella Clough, Tacita Dean, Claudette Johnson, Lisa Milroy and Bridget Riley among others. They relate to a theme that Lubaina describes as being ‘surrounded by meticulous reality’. The selection she has made touches on the personal and examines how, as an artist, one can deal with and articulate the everyday.
Artist Lubaina Himid said: “My relationship with the Walker has developed over the years because of the 19th-century sculptor Edmonia Lewis, she and I are among very few women of colour to have work acquired by this wonderful public collection. Her exquisite sculpture of Longfellow influenced my choice of work from the Arts Council Collection.”
Edmonia Lewis’ 1872 marble sculpture of the American Henry Longfellow, whose poetry significantly shaped popular Euro-American views of Native American culture, will be on display in the exhibition. Lewis was herself the daughter of a Native American (Chippewa) mother and an African American father.
At the centre of the Arts Council Collection display, which occupies one room at the Gallery, is Lubaina’s 1987 series of 15 watercolour drawings, ‘Scenes from the life of Toussaint L’Ouverture’, about the 18th-century military commander and former slave who led the Haitian Revolution. The series focuses on some key moments and everyday happenings in L’Ouverture’s life.
Sandra Penketh, Director of Art Galleries at National Museums Liverpool, said: “Lubaina Himid is one of the most influential artists working in the UK today. Her work is powerful, dazzling and engaging. Lubaina’s project at the Walker will be thought-provoking not only regarding Black histories but also in considering how artists look at and represent the world they inhabit.”
Visitors will also find a selection of more than 20 life-sized figures from Lubaina’s installation Naming the Money, 2004, positioned around the Gallery in arrangements determined by the artist, in response to the collections on display. The full installation was gifted by the artist to National Museums Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum in 2013, and the work is displayed at the Walker during Black History Month.
Naming the Money addresses how Europe’s wealthy classes spent their money and flaunted their power in the 18th and 19th centuries by using enslaved African men and women. The highly individual sculptural figures, each with their profession and life-story, demonstrate how enslavement was disguised and glamourised.