A few years ago, I made the decision to get involved with Modern Art Oxford, a local museum I’m passionate about. Thanks to its dynamic Director Paul Hobson, and cutting-edge contemporary art exhibitions, it punches well above its weight on the International stage.
There’s no doubt it’s been an immersive experience. By joining Director’s Circle, I have experienced the sheer eclectic diversity of contemporary art – from exhibitions and events in Oxford, at regional galleries and in artist’s studios – to international exhibitions such as Venice Biennale, Frieze London and Gallery Weekend, Berlin.
In 2016, the museum celebrated 50 years as an internationally acclaimed powerhouse of contemporary visual culture. KALEIDOSCOPE was a yearlong programme of exhibitions, performances and events that represented an unmissable opportunity to reflect on some of the great moments in Modern Art Oxford’s history.
This year is set to be another exciting year, kicking off with Invisible Strategies by Lubaina Himid opening on 21st January 2017. In-keeping with the museum’s progressive and adventurous approach, this is the first major survey exhibition by British artist Lubaina Himid, one of the pioneers of the British Black Arts Movement. Himid made her mark in the 1980s when she curated exhibitions of work by peers that she believed were under-represented in the contemporary art scene.
Himid’s work challenges the stereotypical depiction of black figures in art history, foreseeing African diasporas’ contribution to Western culture. Invisible Strategies brings together a wide range of Himid’s paintings from the 1980s to the present day, as well as sculptures, ceramics and works on paper. The exhibition opens with Himid’s monumental Freedom and Change (1984) that borrows from Picasso’s Two Women Running on the Beach (The Race) and transforms the female figures from 1922 into black women, powerfully and humorously subverting one of the most canonical paintings in Western art history.
Containing many works shown for the first time in decades alongside unknown pieces, this exhibition highlights Himid’s consistently thought-provoking and distinctive visual style.