Himid’s art practice is both personal and political. She speaks out against the erasure of black women (as artists and as subjects) from public exhibitions and collections. Himid argues that artists that are not talked about, who are not shown in galleries and museums, are made invisible.
Engaging with the often-overlooked histories of museums and galleries in the United Kingdom, Himid seeks to retrieve the hidden contributions, skills and stories of black historical figures and their contemporary counterparts.
In this short video, the artist discusses three of her works, and her belief in the force of art to start necessary and powerful dialogues.
One of the pioneers of the British Black Arts Movement, Himid first came to prominence in the 1980s when she began organising exhibitions of work by her peers, whom she felt were under-represented in the contemporary art scene. Himid’s work challenges the stereotypical depictions of black figures in art history, foregrounding the contribution of the African diaspora to Western culture.
Invisible Strategies brings together a wide range of Himid’s paintings from the 1980s to the present day, as well as sculptures, ceramics and works on paper. The exhibition opens with Himid’s monumental Freedom and Change, 1984, which appropriates and transforms the female figures from Picasso’s Two Women Running on the Beach (The Race), 1922, into black women, powerfully and humorously subverting one of the most canonical paintings in Western art history. Containing many works shown for the first time in decades alongside pieces never-before seen in a public gallery, this exhibition highlights Himid’s consistently thought-provoking and distinctive visual style.