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Turner Prize winner's work acquired for Rugby Collection

THE Rugby Collection has acquired works by Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid and Claudette Johnson after securing grants.

Lubaina HimidThe new additions to Rugby Borough Council's collection of 20th and 21st century British contemporary art feature in About Face, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum's exhibition of portraits which opens at the end of the month.

Himid and 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 Rugby Art Gallery and Museum 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 Art Gallery and Museum acquire Johnson's Standing Figure, 2017.

All three works feature in About Face, an exhibition of portraiture which explores the artists behind the artworks.

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, thanks to the support of Art Fund, Arts Council England, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Contemporary Art Society."

Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund director, said: "Art Fund is proud to support Rugby's acquisition of Lubaina Himid's Man in Paper Drawer and Man in Pencil Drawer, and also the exhibition in which the works appear, About Face, the first grant recipient of the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund.

"The unusual and thought-provoking portrait format - faces painted in drawers - will enhance both the exhibition and Rugby's wider permanent collection."

Cllr Heather Timms, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for growth and investment, 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 30 March and runs until 16 June.

For more information about exhibitions and events at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, visit 

Photo caption: Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid's work, Man in Paper Drawer, features in the About Face exhibition at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum. (Credit: copyright Lubaina Himid, courtesy of Hollybush Gardens)

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