5 things you need to know about Lubaina Himid

This spring, we’re delighted to be showing Lubaina Himid: Lost Threads which weaves through the museum and our collection displays.

Here are 5 key things you need to know about this inspiring artist…

  1. Lubaina Himid is a British artist who was born in Zanzibar in 1954.
    She initially trained in theatre design, but is best known for her paintings, prints and drawings.
  2. Himid was one of the first artists involved in the UK’s Black Art movement in the 1980s, celebrating Black creativity and the people of the African diaspora. Her work addresses the legacies of colonialism and slavery and engages with political questions and artistic traditions from the eighteenth century to the present day.
  3. Lubaina became the first Black woman to win the Turner Prize in 2017, and was elected a Royal Academician in 2018.
  4. The ‘African’ cloth that makes up Lost Threads isn’t actually from Africa. It was originally forged by Dutch colonial companies, attempting to mechanically reproduce handmade Javanese batik cloth in Holland. When this failed to take off in Southeast Asia, Dutch traders began to sell the cloth in West African markets, and the majority of designs now available on African markets are low-cost reproductions made in China.
  5. Lost Threads was previously displayed in a barn at Gawthorpe Hall, commissioned by the British Textile Biennale in 2021.
    When considering the installation at the Holburne, Lubaina said: “When I develop creative interventions in historical buildings, I’m doing a lot of the work with fabric or found objects, but the building also does a lot of the work. Audiences may already know about local history or the collection and come with lots of their own knowledge – I invite them to have a conversation with me through this artwork, to experience a different view of the history that threads its way through the museum.”

Lubaina Himid: Lost Threads is on show at the Holburne from 19 January to 21 April 2024.

You can hear Lubaina Himid in conversation on 14 March at 7pm. Find out more and reserve your ticket.


Lubaina Himid, Lost Threads, 2021, commissioned by British Textile Biennial. Shown in Gawthorpe Hall’s Great Barn. Courtesy of the artist and Hollybush Gardens, London. © Matt Savage