Turner Prize nominee, Lubaina Himid shared with us a story about asking for money for a project from whoever has the purse strings.
She admits that she often thinks about living and dying and doing both.
You need money to make work. Simple fact. Himid has ideas for an installation but requires a bit of money. Naturally, she needs to tell the powerful banker why she needs money for an installation. It will explore the contributions that Africans have made to economic Europe. Slaves had stories and she felt the need to tell them to the world. This was hard because Family history is worth more if it is recorded and traceable.
In a number of poetic verses she tries to regale us with stories that, more than sharing records, share what impact these people had and what labour did to their identities. My name is x, they call me y. I used to do z, now I do a, but I still b.
The story hammers home the importance of naming money, of the histories of any and all figures, giving people voices, distilling individuality and giving a stage to stories.
When asked how she sees her work within society and politics, she offers a fundamental work ethic. When people shout and tell her what to do, she tells them to go and look at what she does and why. The reason her art is activism is in order to do what small things she can.
When asked if the fame – coming from her Turner Prize nomination – makes her, and people generally, more powerful, she gives a humble response. Like movie stars, she'd like to think it hasn't made a difference. But at the same time, it's all relatively new. She has asked some audacious things from powerful men in suits so we'll have to see how those requests pan out.
- The remaining Interdependence talks will cover Community, Technology, Truth, and Change over the coming two Saturdays for £5 each. Find details about these talks on the MIF website.