Lubaina Himid has been named the winner of the 2024 Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize, the Contemporary Austin announced today.
Himid will receive a $200,000 unrestricted cash award and will present a solo exhibition premiering in Austin in spring 2024 at the Contemporary’s downtown venue, the Jones Center. The show will then travel to the FLAG Art Foundation in New York, where it will open in fall 2024. In addition to the exhibition and monetary award, the prize, which is administrated by the Contemporary, includes a scholarly exhibition catalog.
Born in Zanzibar in 1954, Himid is based in the U.K. and and self-describes as a painter and cultural activist, influential in making space for the expression and recognition of Black experience and women’s creativity. She played a pivotal role in the British Black arts movement in the 1980s and went on to gain international recognition for her work.
Himid won the Turner Prize in 2017, the first Black woman awardee of the prestigious British prize. She is currently the subject of retrospective at London’s Tate Modern.
“Himid’s work is both content rich and aesthetically beautiful, making her an excellent choice for this prestigious award,” says sharon maidenberg, executive director and CEO of the Contemporary Austin.
“Her unique ability to simultaneously humanize and elevate the lived experience of her subjects makes her a deft visual storyteller. Her ability to work across media — including painting, textile, and sculpture — creates space for her continued exploration of timeless subjects in new and fresh ways.”
Led by maidenberg, this year’s advisory committee for the award included Wassan Al-Khudhairi, chief curator of the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis; Pilar Tompkins Rivas, chief curator and deputy director of curatorial and collections, Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles; Michelle White, senior curator of the Menil Collection; and Zoé Whitley, director of London’s Chisenhale Gallery, along with institutional advisor Jonathan Rider, director, The FLAG Art Foundation.
Previous winners of the biennial prize are Rodney McMillan (2018), Nicole Eisenmann (2020) and Tarek Atoui (2022).
Initially trained in theatre design, Himid is known for her innovative approaches to painting and to social engagement. Her artistic practice is also rooted in her personal experiences with theater and textile design from a young age, when she would join her mother, a textile designer, on trips to clothing and fabric stores. Her paintings and installations are filled with lurid and lively colors that often reference her cultural heritage. Found objects — plates, discarded furniture, jelly molds, newspapers — also form the foundation of her artworks, giving them a temporal quality that defies the confines of a gallery wall.
Her work is held in various museum and public collections, including the Tate; British Council Collection; Arts Council Collection; UK Government Art Collection; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; National Museums Liverpool; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and Rhode Island School of Design.