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Lubaina Himid: Breaking in, Breaking out, Breaking up, Breaking down.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Argyle Street
Glasgow G3 8AG
Mon – Thu & Sat, 10am-5pm
Fri & Sun, 11am-5pm

For this year’s GI Lubaina Himid joined some other 250 artists in transforming the city’s most remarkable sites. Himid is the winner of the last year’s Turner Prize, as the first black female woman to win the award, but also the oldest winner, after raising the age restriction for the participants.

Lubaina Himid (b. 1954) is a British artist, curator and contemporary art professor known for her opposition to the institutional invisibility of people of colour. In her work, she refers to slavery and its legacies in our contemporary world and as she says, tries to fill in the gaps in history. Something very similar can be said about her newest work, executed for the Kelvingrove’s main gallery.

Lubaina Himid’s work in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Breaking in, Breaking out, Breaking up, Breaking down spreads between the two walls of the central hall. It is a combination of a hand-painted sculpture and an installation piece. The long structure fixed to classicising columns resembles a support beam, displaying profiles of four Chinese dragons.

As in many other pieces by the artists, her preoccupation with creating a sense of drama makes itself evident in the work. Himid’s training as a theatre designer is noticeable as she usually plays with theatricality and drama.

Kelvingrove’s Central Hall is a vast and ambitious space to respond to and Breaking in… works within it on a basis of contrast, as it does not fit into the grand architectural scheme of the space. While it is confined it also takes up the space and its strangeness and the ambiguity of its purpose brings it back to its title.

Lubaina Himid’s work emphasises the artist’s understanding of public museums, as extensions of the streets, which contents are owned by the citizens. Its mine, it’s yours, it’s theirs and it’s ours. It’s Breaking in, Breaking out, Breaking up, Breaking down.


By Maria Cynkier


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