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Recent acquisitions

THE Rugby Collection  acquired works in 2018 by Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid and Claudette Johnson after securing grants from Art Fund, Arts Council England, the Victoria and Albert Purchase Art Fund 2018 and the Contemporary Art Society.

Himid and Johnson have both played leading roles in Britain's Black Arts Movement, creating pieces which focus on racial politics and identity and their works enhance the Rugby Collection of 20th and 21st centuy British contemporary art.

All three works featured in About Face, an exhibition of portraiture which explored the artists behind the artworks.  Listen to the 'In Conversation' Rugby Art Gallery & Museum held with Lubaina Himid and Claudette Johnson.


rugby colleciton

Claudette Johnson (b.1959)

Standing Figure

Charcoal & Masking Tape, 2017

New acquisition to the Rugby Collection (Dec 2017)

Purchased with the support from the Contemporary Art Society 2017.  Presented by the Contemparary Art Society with the support of Rugby Art Gallery and Museum 2017.

Although her works are often defined as 'portraits', Johnson has suggested that the 'drawings sit outside of portraiture as the figures inhabit an undefined space that makes no reference to the sitter's personal history or location'.  Standing Figure depicts a young Black woman who never meets our gaze, nor does she give the impression that she is shy.   Standing Figure is un-staged and intimate, instead of performing to an audience, the subject is in a moment of contemplation.

"I wanted to render the figure with as few lines as possible whilst still giving a sense of her physicality and presence.  Tone was introduced quite late in the work to act as a ballast to the lightness of the head and upper figure.  My aim, through scale and structure is to enable the viewer to have a visceral response to the presence of this figure".

Claudette Johnson


rugby collection

Lubaina Himid MBE (b. 1954) Turner Prize Winner 2017

Man in Paper Drawer (left)

Man in Pencil Drawer (right)

Acrylic and found drawer 2017

Rugby Collection

Purchased with assistance from the Art Fund and the Arts Council England/Victoria and Albert Purchase Grant Fund 2018.

Lubaina is interested in the visible and invisible.  Man in Paper Drawer and Man in Pencil Drawer suggest the act of revealing something.  The drawer carries with it a performance action of bringing something into the field of vision.  It could perhaps also refer to an act of naming, filing and archiving; archiving histories and particularly Black histories.

"Museums imagine than they don't know audiences, as if 'audiences' are this funny, grey, humming thing - audiences are just made up of people....The way to get more audiences, different audiences in is to get different artists in: it's really that simple"

Lubaina Himid