Plaited Time Deep Water
Plaited Time / Deep Water by Lubaina Himid and Magda Stawarska 
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Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) presents Plaited Time / Deep Water, a duo show by British artist Lubaina Himid CBE RA and artist Magda Stawarska. Curated by Dr Omar Kholeif (an author, cultural historian, broadcaster, and the SAF’s director of collections and senior curator), it displays newly commissioned art pieces and recent reimagined works responding to Sharjah’s architecture, soundscapes, and its natural environment. The exhibition addresses the themes Himid and Stawarska often delve into in their art: history, memory, migration, and language. It will end on 28 January 2024. 

The show’s highlight is a presentation of the Zanzibar series of paintings (1998–2023) by Himid recounting the stages of her lifelong journeys of return. It has been turned into a multimedia installation situating the paintings within Stawarska’s new sound environment.

Lubaina Himid, Shutters Only Hide The Sun (Zanzibar), 1999. Acrylic on canvas. 101 x 304 cm.
Courtesy of the artist and Hollybush Gardens. Photo by Andy Keate.

On view is also Plan B: A Libretto (2023), the latest commission produced by Himid and Stawarska in collaboration. It is a 4-channel installation based on sound responding to the Plan B painting series (the 1990s) by Himid. The art piece comprises four paintings from the series and a libretto created by the artists adapting the text from the paintings into the vernacular Arabic of Alexandria (Egypt). 

Lubaina Himid, The Glare of the Sun (Plan B), 1999. Acrylic on canvas. 122 x 244 cm

The commissioned art pieces on display include Stawarska’s installation Lost and Found (2023) presenting photos of different sites in Sharjah and written texts gathered from the people who live in the city. 

In the exhibition, one can also see Secret Study (2023), a new mixed-media installation created by Himid specifically for the show. It consists of multiple items from her private collection of personal artworks, archival materials, etc. and allows visitors to catch a glimpse of Himid’s inner world.

About the artists

Lubaina Himid (b. 1954, Zanzibar, Tanzania) is an artist and curator residing in Preston (UK) who produces paintings, drawings, prints, and installations. She studied Theatre Design at Wimbledon College of Art (London, UK) and pursued her education at the Royal College of Art (London), from which she received her MA in Cultural History. Currently, Himid is a professor at the University of Central Lancashire. 

In her art, Himid uncovers marginalised and silenced histories, figures, and cultural moments. Addressing her heritage, she is famous for furthering the Black Arts Movement; she was among its primary members in the UK in the 1980s. Himid focuses on black female artists in terms of subject matter for her art and assisting their careers. 

Lubaina Himid, Havana Nightschool (Plan B), 1999. Acrylic on canvas. 122 x 244 cm.
Courtesy of the artist and Hollybush Gardens.

Himid has displayed her art pieces in such solo and group shows as Work From Underneath (The New Museum, New York, USA, 2019); Meticulous Observations and Naming the Money (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK, 2018); Glasgow International (UK, 2018); Gifts to Kings (MRAC Languedoc Roussillon Midi-Pyrénées, Sérignan, France, 2018); Burning Down the House, Gwangju Biennale (South Korea, 2014); and many others. Himid’s artworks have been added to some esteemed public collections: the Tate, Victoria & Albert Museum, and International Slavery Museum (Liverpool, UK), to name a few. She was granted the Turner Prize in 2017 and made a CBE for services to art in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours. 

Magda Stawarska (b. 1976, Poland) is a multi-disciplinary artist based in the UK. Her practice involves working with sound and moving image, photography, painting, printmaking, installations, and performance. Stawarska earned her BA (Hons) in Fine Art from the University of Central Lancashire (Preston, UK) in 2000. In 2005, she graduated from Manchester School of Arts (MIRIAD, Manchester Metropolitan University Manchester, UK) with a Master’s Degree in Media Arts with distinction. 

Magda Stawarska, Lost and Found and Patterns of Al-Andalus (installation view). Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, 2023.

In her practice, Stawarska explores the layering of a city’s unresolved present upon its past and the narratives unfolding within them. Through her installations, which combine moving images, soundscapes, screen prints, and paintings on paper, she strives to prompt us to remember what we thought we had forgotten. In her audio collages, Stawarska retells encounters with other artists and writers and thus examines the process of “inner listening”. 

The list of exhibitions in which she displayed her work includes Rewinding Internationalism (Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, Holland, 2022); Artissima Art Fair (Turin, Italy, 2021); Sounds Like Her (Oldham Art Gallery, Manchester, UK, 2020); Tales from Water Margins (4th International Biennial of Casablanca, Morocco, 2018); Sounding, Resonating and Vibrating – Bludný Kámen (Ostrava, Czech Republic, 2017); and others. Among the awards and grants Stawarska has been given are the Artists’ International Development Fund (British Council, Arts Council) and Hamelin Polska Award at International Print Triennial – Kraków (2015). In 2020, she was shortlisted and shared in the Award for Artists by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

The artist’s creations can be found in several public collections: the British Library Sound & Vision Collection (London), the China Printmaking Museum (Shenzhen, China), the Association of the Museums of Painting and Sculpture (Istanbul, Turkey), TONSPUR Kunstverein Wien (Austria), and others.

To learn more about Plaited Time / Deep Water, please visit the show’s official web page.

You might also be interested in attending Muheera & I by Abdulrahim Salim.

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