Rasheed Araeen: Preliminary Notes

Rasheed Araeen: Preliminary Notes © Kes-Tchass Eccleston

Long based in Brent, Rasheed Araeen’s practice has been devoted to reassessing and rewriting histories. Through his artistic work and prolific writing over six decades, Araeen has developed insight into means of making and ways of thinking in a shifting colonial context. This exhibition continues platforming his work in Brent following a major exhibition as part of the Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture programme.

Rasheed Araeen’s 1978 essay ‘Preliminary Notes for a Black Manifesto’, displayed in its entirety, forms the core of an exhibition at Metroland Studio. First published in his independent magazine Black Phoenix, the text interrogates the lack of support from arts institutions for the artists in the UK of Asian and African origins. More than forty years since publication, its questions remain as relevant as ever. The exhibition points to Araeen’s legacy of radicalism which has, in turn, become a cornerstone of Metroland Cultures’ work.

Araeen’s 'Reading Room' (2016-ongoing), which has been gifted to Metroland Cultures, will also be presented as part of the exhibition. 'Reading Room' consists of seating and table structures housing the first one hundred issues of 'Third Text’. The journal, established by Araeen in Brent in 1987, remains at the forefront of debates exploring art, culture and postcolonialism.

Additionally, Araeen’s large interactive work Zero to Infinity (1968-ongoing) will animate Kilburn Square garden at certain points throughout the exhibition. The work consists of wooden open-framework lattice cubes that are initially positioned in an ordered structure, but then viewers are encouraged to interact with the components by moving them into new configurations over the course of the show.

With thanks to Brent Libraries and Archives and Rasheed Araeen Studios.