Lubaina Himid makes history as oldest and first black female to win Turner Prize

63-year old Lubaina Himid has made history as the oldest ever winner of the Turner Prize. 

The Zanzibar-born artist was also the first black woman to pick up the art award for her work addressing the legacy of slavery.

Preston-based Himid was praised by the judges for ‘”uncompromising tackling of issues including colonial history and how racism persists today”.

The panel also said they admired “her expansive and exuberant approach to painting which combines satire and a sense of theatre”.

 “Himid acknowledged her role as an influential curator and educator who continues to speak urgently to the moment”.

Her work featured wooden figures, pottery and newspapers that Himid had painted over.

Himid has painted images of black slaves on dinner sets and aristocrats – some of whom are vomiting at the news of the abolition of slavery – onto others.

She painted over parts of newspaper cuttings to show how they “used black people in a very subtle way which could be said to undermine their identity”.

Himid said she was “thrilled” to win, and thanked long-time supporters in her acceptance speech.

She told the audience: “To the art and cultural historians who cared enough to write essays about my work for decades – thank you, you gave me sustenance in the wilderness years.”

Speaking to BBC News afterwards, she said she had been overlooked by the press and critics, but never ‘art historians, curators or other artists’.

She explained that her win probably wouldn’t change any attitudes, but said  “I think it will get people talking, which is the point of my work.”

Asked how she would spend the £25,000 cheque, she told the reporter: “I spend quite a lot of my money working with other artists, sometimes asking them to make things or helping them to make things when maybe they didn’t get a grant or whatever.

“So I’ll do a bit of that. And I’ll buy some shoes.”

2017 marked the first year since 1991 that artists over the age of 50 were eligible to compete for the prize.

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