Rasheed Araeen

Araeen arrived in London from Karachi in 1964, and as a minimalist sculptor was awarded the John Moores Prize in 1969. He went on to become the founder of the journals Black Phoenix and later Third Text. Although performance art is not a dominant feature of his practice, in 1970 he made a series of participatory works where people were invited to throw large white discs into canals/water (Touch and Canalevent). In the late 70s he made live events/performances that reflected his ‘lived experience’ of encountering the racism of Britain at the time. One such work was Paki Bastard (Portrait of the Artist as a Black Person) in 1977:

“Araeen expressed the dilemma of the first generation diasporas, psychically caught between the place of departure as a lost belonging and a hostile place of arrival to which they could not fully belong.” From Jean Fisher, The Other Story and the Past Imperfect, Tate Papers, Issue 12, 2009

Rasheed Araeen

Performance documentation / Examples of works:

Paki Bastard-Portrait of the Artist as a Black Person, 1977, Artists For Democracy [AFD] gallery, Whitfield Street/ 1978, ‘Art for Society: Contemporary British Art with a Social or Political Purpose’, Whitechapel Art Gallery/ Sussex University


ARAEEN, Rasheed (1984) Making Myself Visible, London: Kala Press
Study Room Ref: P2854

ARAEEN, Rasheed et al (1989) The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Post-War Britain, London: Hayward Gallery/South Bank Centre
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Black Phoenix: Third World Perspective on Contemporary Art and Culture, No 2 (Summer 1978) pp12-17 [in The African-Caribbean, Asian and African Art in Britain Archive, Chelsea College of Art]

FISHER, Jean (2009) ‘The Other Story and the Past Imperfect’, Tate Papers, Issue 12
Study Room Ref: A0652
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MARTIN, Courtney J. (2010) ‘Rasheed Araeen, Live Art, and Radical Politics in Britain’, Getty Research Journal, Volume 2, pp 107-124
Study Room Ref: A0650
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SCHIMMMEL, Paul and FERGUSON, Russell eds. (1998) Out Of Actions: Between Performance And The Object 1949 – 1979, London: Thames & Hudson
Study Room Ref: P0133

WALKER, John A. (2002) Left Shift: Radical Art in 1970s Britain, London: I. B. Tauris
Study Room Ref: P0623