Lubaina Himid creates beguiling and thoughful artworks which surprise the viewer with a very original style and glimpse of an inner life. A new show at Tate Modern shows just how versatile, intriguing and important an artist she is.

Jelly moulds. Yes, they are a thing although I don’t think many of us use them much these days. I loved the thinking behind Lubaina Himid’s installation of antique painted jelly moulds. Her view is that these humble kitchen objects are plain on the outside but full of pattern and potential on the inside. I see that as a splendid metaphor for the creative soul. Generally, you never know what thoughts and intrigue lie within a seemingly plain and inconsequential exterior.

I really liked these lively, contemporary interpretations of Hogarth’s Marriage a la Mode series of paintings. Himid has used a variety of media to create these dreadful characters who destroy each other with their loveless marriage bereft of respect. This male figure’s ruff has been created by surgical gloves. They’re all free standing on wood, hinged and adorned with a mix of paint, paper and other materials.

I liked the dancing ladies in Freedom and Change – canvas adorned with collage-style fabric – and the conversational ladies at their table. This is called Five.

Joyously bright colours, heat and intensity of human life. We don’t really need to know what’s going on but can feel sure that there’s some intriguing narrative behind the composition.

Lubaina Himid is on at Tate Modern until 3rd July 2022.

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