Rasheed Araeen was trained and graduated as a civil engineer, but turned to art as a profession. While still in Karachi in 1959, he pioneered the idea of making sculpture by burning and transforming an object from one material/form to another.
After arriving in London in 1964, he encountered the fascinating modernist sculpture of Anthony Caro; which led him in 1965 to his pioneering Minimalist sculpture. In 1975 he turned to writing which focused on the racist and imperialist legacies that still prevail and haunt the mainstream of art discourse in the West.
In 1978 he founded an art magazine 'Black Phoenix', but produced only three issues. However, this magazine was resurrected and relaunched by him as a theoretical art journal 'Third Text'. In 1982, he set up 'Project MRB: Art Education in Multiracial Britain', which researched the contribution of African-Asian artists to the mainstream; and which then led to his curating the exhibition 'The Other Story' at the Hayward Gallery in 1989. In 1995, he received Honorary Doctorate of Letters (PhD) from University of Southampton; while in 1997 Honorary Doctorate of Arts (PhD) from University of East London.
In 1999, he was granted a US Patent for an invention, which is both a floating sculpture and water sport, followed in 2001 by a full International Patent. Currently he is developing a project, which will lead to re-examining and rewriting of the history of post-war art in Britain. This history will be inclusive of artists from all cultures who have contributed within the historical framework of modern developments.