Lubaina Himid: Tate Modern, London
Expansive, expressive, puzzling. I really enjoyed the quotes that guided these works and especially the ‘blue’ soundscape installation, which was unexpectedly relaxing, as it turned out, standing amongst speakers on stands listening to different words for blue being spoken.
I loved the strangeness of the blue installation, with bits of dismantled piano’s and other items covered in strips of blue. She plays a lot with the hidden, with what isn’t being said or seen — portraits pop up in drawers; there are fish on old wooden carts; cowrie shells dance across a ship like structure; a woman with a head like a duck seems to be being bought/sold/traded; there is architecture and stilted beach based housing.
There was also a very angry political piece against Margaret Thatcher, made like the sliding sets from 18th century operas, and also quite distressing at the same time for its assault on women. Textiles and patterns and inspiration for the world we live in are also important to this artist, as we are continuously asked what kind of world we want to live in?
It was a lot harder to engage with — I wasn’t always sure what I was looking at, although I enjoyed the colours. Lubaina Himid seems to be suggesting that its women and their skills which will change the world — though there are also subversive absences — why are all the men dancing together in their sharp boots; which colour are we to choose from all the buttons offered to us by the button maker; women plan and cook unaware of what they’re about to lose; is even the trade offer a good one as the lady in pink cheerfully brandishes a fork?
Are we valuing the right things and people?