Spanning 60 years, this publication encompasses Rasheed Araeen’s art, editing, and curating activities for the first time, presenting an expanded artistic practice that has had a profound influence on generations of artists, writers, and thinkers. Bringing together newly commissioned essays by leading art critics and historians, documentation from the artist’s archive as well as an extensive survey of Araeen’s work, this publication, on a figure whose contribution as an artist and thinker has consistently been overlooked, is both timely and necessary.
As a pioneer of minimalist sculpture, a searing advocate of postcolonial and decolonial positions as put forward in the magazine "Black Phoenix" (co-founded by Araeen in 1978–1979) and later in "Third Text" (founded by Araeen in 1987), as curator of the landmark exhibition "The Other Story" (Hayward Gallery, London 1989), or through his recent abstract paintings that draw from the Abbasid period—the golden age of Arab/Muslim civilization, c. 800–1200—Araeen has consistently sought to realign our understanding of modernism imposed by the hegemonic discourses of the West, especially in its concepts, chronology, and form. Dedicated to the key periods of his work, the scholarly essays explore the Karachi paintings, minimalism and conceptualism, the political “turn” of the 1970s and early 1980s, the panel grid works of the 1980s and 1990s, and recent paintings, including the "Homecoming series" (2010–ongoing), as well as Araeen’s writing, editing, and curatorial work.
Born in 1935 in Karachi, Rasheed Araeen has been based in London since 1964. He has recently participated in the 57th Venice Biennale and in documenta 14 (Athens/Kassel).