WORKS by prominent figures in Britain’s Black Arts Movement, including paintings by a Turner Prize winner, have been acquired by Rugby Borough Council’s collection of 20th and 21st century British contemporary art.
The Rugby Collection has acquired works by Lubaina Himid and Claudette Johnson after securing grants from Art Fund, Arts Council England, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Contemporary Art Society.
The new additions will feature in About Face, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum’s forthcoming exhibition of portraits which explores the artists behind the artworks.
Lubaina Himid and Claudette Johnson have both played leading roles in Britain’s Black Arts Movement, creating pieces which focus on racial politics and identity.
Himid won the prestigious Turner Prize in 2017 for her works tackling issues such as colonial history, racism and the legacy of slavery.
An acquisition grant from Art Fund and an award from the Arts Council England/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund has enabled the gallery to purchase a pair of works from Himid’s recent Men in Drawers series – Man in Paper Drawer and Man in Pencil Drawer.
And a grant from the Contemporary Art Society has helped the gallery acquire Johnson’s Standing Figure, 2017.
About Face received an £18,000 grant from the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund and features eight loans from the National Portrait Gallery, including self-portraits by Lucian Freud, Richard Hamilton and Eduardo Paolozzi.
The exhibition also includes loans from The Lowry and portraits from the Rugby Collection, with pieces by Stanley Spencer, Maggi Hambling and Craigie Aitchison on display.
Katie Boyce, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum’s senior visual arts officer and the curator of About Face, said: “About Face focuses on portraits and self-portraits, with each piece a starting point on a journey of discovery where visitors can explore the personality behind the painting.
“I am delighted we can now include works from Lubaina Himid and Claudette Johnson in the exhibition, and add the pieces permanently to the Rugby Collection.”
Art Fund director Stephen Deuchar said: “The unusual and thought-provoking portrait format of Lubaina Himid’s Man in Paper Drawer and Man in Pencil Drawer – faces painted in drawers – will enhance both the About Face exhibition and Rugby’s wider permanent collection.”
Rugby Borough Council growth and investment spokeswoman Heather Timms said: “Rugby Borough Council established the Rugby Collection in 1945 and it now boasts more than 200 pieces by many of the leading contemporary artists of the 20th and 21st century.
“I’m delighted Rugby Art Gallery and Museum has secured funding to acquire pieces by Claudette Johnson and Lubaina Himid, pieces which enhance the already impressive collection of works featured in About Face.
“Thanks to the support of the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund, the National Portrait Gallery and The Lowry, About Face has generated interest nationwide and we’re looking forward to welcoming visitors to Rugby when the exhibition opens.”
About Face opens on Friday March 30 and runs until June 16.
Visit www.ragm.co.uk for more information.