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Artist, Writer

Rasheed Araeen

  • CountryPakistan
  • Born1935


Rasheed Araeen is a conceptual artist, sculptor, painter, writer, and curator.

Araeen pioneered the idea of making sculpture by burning and transforming an object from one material/form to another. After arriving in London in 1964 from Pakistan, he encountered the fascinating modernist sculpture of Anthony Caro; which led him in 1965 to his pioneering Minimalist sculpture.

His practice, also being within the mediums of performance, photography; challenged the Eurocentric canon of the British art establishment and championed the role of artists of colour, especially those of Asian, African and Caribbean descent.

Araeen took on activist roles with organisations such as the Black Panthers and Artists for Democracy and founded the critical journals Black Phoenix, Third Text, and Third Text Asia. In 1982, he set up ‘Project MRB: Art Education in Multiracial Britain’, which researched the contribution of African-Asian artists to the mainstream; and lead to Araeen’s curation of the seminal 1989 exhibition: ‘The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Post-War Britain’, held at the Hayward Gallery.

Araeen was one of the contributors to Iniva’s 1994 ‘Global Visions: Towards a New Internationalism in the Visual Arts’and exhibited in ‘Aubrey Williams’, which was organised by the Iniva and the Whitechapel Gallery in 1998.

Rasheed Araeen was born and educated in Karachi, Pakistan. He trained and graduated as a civil engineer, but turned to art as a profession.

Araeen has exhibited nationally and internationally, with up to seven significant solo exhibitions and over twelve notable group exhibitions.

Araeen was part of the 57° Venice Art Biennale (2017), exhibiting ‘Zero to Infinity’. He exhibited 4 Ethnic Drawings, (1982) in the group exhibition ‘The Place Is Here’ in South London Gallery, 2017. ‘Gastkünstler! (Guest artist!, 1980), Food for Thought: Thought for Change(2016–17 )and The Reading Room (copies of Third Text journal), (2016/2017)were exhibited in Documenta 14, Athens (2017).

Araeen is the recipient of honorary doctorates from Southampton University, East London University, and Wolverhampton University.

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.

Rasheed Araeen lives and works in London and has described his practice as ‘a journey, with interruptions, swerves, obstacles and overcoming’s.’

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