The term “immersive installation” gets a lot of airplay these days, but walking amongst Lubaina Himid’s 100-strong crowd of life sized cut-out painted figures who stride, cavort and play a variety of instruments throughout the Spike Island space in Bristol is an especially all-encompassing and exhilarating experience.
Himid’s work has long been concerned with black creativity, history and identity and this animated throng represents the Africans who were brought to Europe as slave servants. There are drummers, dog trainers, dancers, potters, cobblers, gardeners and players of the viola da gamba, all decked out in vivid versions of 17th century costume. Labels on their backs identify each individual, giving both their original African names and occupations as well those imposed by their new European owners, and these poignant texts also form part of an evocative soundtrack, interspersed with snatches of Cuban, Irish, Jewish and African music.
Read this article by Louisa Black, published February 17th 2017 on the Telegraph website at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/art/lubaina-himid-trio-uk-shows-shines-light-under-appreciated-hero/
Navigation Charts is at Spike Island until March 26; 133 Cumberland Road, Bristol, BS1 6UX spikeisland.org.uk
The Place is Here is at Nottingham Contemporary until April 30; Weekday Cross, Nottingham, NG1 2GB nottinghamcontemporary.org
Invisible Strategies is at Modern Art Oxford until April 30; 30 Pembroke Street, Oxford, OX1 1BP modernartoxford.org.uk