Lubaina Himid ★★★★ Tate Modern | Nov 25, 2021 - Jul 3, 2022


Lubaina Himid guides us through this exhibition with a series of questions: We live in clothes, we live in buildings – Do they fit us? What are monuments for? What does love sound like? How do you distinguish safety from danger? What is strategy? What happens next? The wide variety of work here comments on these questions and sometimes hints at answers. The range of media employed is impressive and there is an attempt to engage more than just the visual sense. We are invited into five sound experiences that almost create a form synesthesia. However, as compelling as many of the installations and other works may be, our attention was drawn to the large acrylics particularly from the Le Rodeur series. The name comes from a French slave ship with a tragic story, but the works do not deal directly with that historical narrative. The fascinating scenes explore ambiguous and enigmatic interactions that evoke, rather than state, their realities. Historical and present inequities and affinities are explored in subtle, now apparently personal, contexts. The vivid colours and stark outlines belie the allusive interactions taking place and understated social commentary. There is much to be pondered and admired in this exhibition, and it concludes with the site-specific installation Do you want an easy life? The Turner Prize-winning artist does not shy away from the big questions and she brilliantly makes her audience confront them as well.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Image: Lubaina Himid Ball on Shipboard, 2018. Rennie Collection, Vancouver. © Lubaina Himid

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