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Lubaina Himid Wins $55K Maria Lassnig Prize

Lubaina Himid, whose career surged in the last decade, has won the Maria Lassnig Prize for mid-career artists, along with its $55,000 prize money.

Himid has had an influential career spanning over four decades. By combing sculptures and installations with collages, set designs, and paintings, Lubaina Himid formed a unique, powerful way of telling stories. Most of her stories revolve around the Black experience in a country that still has remnants of colonial-era racism. Himid was born in Zanzibar and arrived in the UK as an immigrant; currently, she lives in Preston, England. She has also been an active participant in social issues. Most notably, she founded the Blk Art Group in the 1980s, which has served as a prominent organization of Black artists in the UK.

Despite a long and impactful career, Lubaina Himid only became spotlighted in the last decade. In 2017, she won the influential Turner Prize – creating history as the first Black woman to win it. In 2018, she was elected into the Royal Academy and granted CBE (Commander of the British Empire). Since 2014, she has appeared in a number of biennales, including – the Gwangju Biennale (2014), Istanbul Biennial (2015), Berlin Biennial (2018), and Sharjah Biennial (2019/2023).

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The Maria Lassnig Prize was established for her namesake, a few years before her death at 94 in 2014. For Lassnig, the objective of the prize was to award artists who are in the middle of their careers and allow them to achieve the recognition they deserve. The award is given every two years and carries a prize money of €50,000 ($55,000).