Lubaina Himid earns Austin & New York exhibitions as part of prize

The Contemporary Austin presents Make Do and Mend, a solo exhibition by  UK-based artist Lubaina Himid, on view from March 1 – July 21, 2024. Himid is the 2024 recipient of the Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize, a biennial prize founded in 2016 by The Contemporary Austin trustee Suzanne Deal Booth and administered with The Contemporary Austin.

Make Do and Mend marks Himid’s first solo exhibition in Texas and the American South at large. Following its debut, the exhibition will travel to The FLAG Art Foundation in New York where it will be on view from September 13, 2024 – January 18, 2025.

The Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize

The Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize selects each recipient based on their outstanding merit, strong record of international exhibitions, and the transformational impact the award stands to have on their career and the Austin and New York communities. A rotating independent advisory committee made up of curators and art historians  of contemporary art selects each year’s recipient.

In May 2018, The Contemporary Austin and The FLAG Art Foundation announced the expansion and renaming of the Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize to the Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize. The prize includes an unrestricted $200,000 award, a full museum solo exhibition that premieres at The Contemporary Austin and travels to The FLAG Art Foundation in New York, an accompanying publication, and related public programming.

The Jury for the 2024 Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize was led by sharon maidenberg, the Ernest and Sarah Butler Director & CEO of The Contemporary Austin, and  included Wassan Al-Khudhairi, co-curator for the 2025 Hawaii Triennial; Pilar Tompkins Rivas, Chief Curator at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Los Angeles, CA; Michelle White, Senior Curator at the Menil Collection, Houston,  TX; and Zoé Whitley, Director of Chisenhale Gallery, London, United Kingdom; along with institutional advisor  Jonathan Rider, Director of The FLAG Art Foundation.

Himid is the fourth artist to receive the award. Past awardees include Rodney McMillian (2018), Nicole Eisenman (2020), and Tarek Atoui (2022). 

“In my opinion, artists are uniquely qualified to translate the beauty and complexity of human experience into moments that invite deeper impact,” Suzanne Deal Booth said. “When conceiving the Prize, I wanted to create an award for artists that had not yet reached widespread recognition, providing them with resources, platforms, and  opportunities that acknowledged their expertise and commitment to purpose and change. Lubaina Himid embodies this spirit, and I look forward to seeing her artistic vision celebrated at The Contemporary Austin this spring.” 

Lubiana Himid Exhibition

Himid’s Make Do and Mend debuts two new bodies of work.

On the first floor, Himid stages ten Strategy Paintings that depict Black men and women seated around tables featuring different arrangements of objects—in each case, imagining a specific problem to be solved. With the Jones Center’s location just a few blocks from the Texas State Capitol, these paintings prompt us to reflect on the people in power, those who make decisions from afar, and how context affects the decisions that are made. This conversation is extended through the physical tables and chairs that will be installed in the gallery and available for the public to hold their own meetings and discussion groups.  

For the second floor, Himid created an arrangement of 64 plank paintings entitled The Aunties, building on her previous plank works that evoke the form of funerary objects from East Africa. The title of these works references the figure of the “auntie,” an interstitial role that is both familial and friend. Each plank is imbued with its style and  character, and constructed from found wood, pointing to Himid’s ongoing interest in the politics of discarded materials and to the traces of previous lives of the Jones Center’s architecture.

The choreography of the installation is a reminder to visitors to be conscious of the space around them as well as an invitation to look up, down, and underneath.

About the artist

Throughout a career spanning four decades, the self-described “painter and cultural activist,” has explored and  expanded the possibilities of painting and storytelling to depict contemporary everyday life and uncover the silenced histories of marginalized figures. Best known for her innovative approaches to painting and social engagement, Himid has been influential in making space for the expression and recognition of the Black experience and women’s  creativity—playing a pivotal role in the British Black arts movement in the 1980s and becoming the first Black woman to win the Turner Prize in 2017.

“Lubaina Himid’s artworks center Black figures, history, and experience, and her pivotal role in the Black British art  movement has profoundly shaped our conversations about contemporary art and the omissions within art history,” Alex Klein and Julie Le, co-curators of Make Do and Mend, said. “In tandem with her incredible expanded painting practice, she is equally inspiring as an advocate for other artists through her work as a curator, mentor, teacher, and  critic. We are especially thrilled that her exhibition Make Do and Mend debuts all new work created specifically in response to The Contemporary Austin at the Jones Center, with its historic building and its location just blocks from  the Texas State Capitol, resonating both with her engagement with found materials as a political act, and with the  context here in Austin.”  

Rooted in personal experience, Himid’s practice also incorporates childhood memories like joining her mother, a textile designer, on trips to clothing and fabric stores. The translation of these  experiences can often be found in the artist’s lively paintings and installations woven with cultural heritage, found  objects—plates, discarded furniture, jelly molds, newspapers—also form the grounds of her distinguished artworks.  

“In many ways and forms, Lubaina Himid’s practice makes private moments public, and in doing so invites viewers to project their own experiences and histories onto the work,” Director of The FLAG Art Foundation, Jonathan Rider said. “Presenting Himid across two venues, each with distinct regional contexts, allows for differing conversations,  programming, and possibilities to occur. Himid has spoken about the exhibition as a site for chance encounter, and we look forward to seeing how audiences between Austin and New York inhabit, activate, and interact with the  theatrical and deeply personal world she creates.” 

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