Lubaina Himid’s Questions

By Shlomo Maital

Lubaina Himid

  Last week my wife and I visited the Tate Modern museum, London, and enjoyed the remarkable art work of British artist Lubaina Himid. 

   Most artists seek to make statements, one way or the other, with their art.  Himid, whose work focuses on African culture and heritage, has a different perspective.

    She asks us questions.  Her questions appear in a wall poster, on cloth hangings, which she calls ‘speaking cloths’ and in her brochure.   Here are Lubaina Himid’s list of questions, for us to ask as we view her paintings and as we live our lives.

    Food for thought.

   What is my plan?  What will I learn about myself here?  What would I do in this situation?  How is my life the same as this one?  What does this setting offer me today? Which questions am I asking?  How fast do I want to go?  Who do I want to be?  What can I hear? What do I want to say?  Who could I work with?  What would a sharing of space mean?  Can we do this together? What makes me happy?  What am I frightened of?  How much power can I have and what will I do with it?  Where shall we go together?  What does love sound like?  What do I really want?  Is this enough?  How much time do I need?  What difference can I make? What can an understanding of language do? Is this really what I want to do?  How should it end?