Reading Room (2016 - ongoing)
Access key: wheelchair accessible, audio elements available, online access (please contact us at email@example.com for a link).
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 within a shifting colonial context. Rasheed’s participation in the second edition of the Brent Biennial continues the platforming of his work in Brent following a major project as part of the Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture programme, and an exhibition as part of the launch of Metroland Cultures’ status as an independent charity.
Installed in the Brent Biennial Visitor’s Hub at Metroland Studio, Araeen’s Reading Room (2016-ongoing) consists of the artist’s signature seating and table structures housing the first 100 issues of ‘Third Text’. The journal, established by Araeen in Brent in 1987, remains at the forefront of debates exploring art, culture and postcolonialism, with a particular focus on both the impact of globalisation on cultural practices, and the lessons of postcolonial theory. In this archive, you can find edited journals such as FORTRESS EUROPE: Migration, Culture and Representation (Volume 20, Issue 6), in which the identification of Europe as a seemingly open and expanding group of nation states is explored as being at odds with its racial, ethnic and religious boundaries.
Araeen’s 1978 essay Preliminary Notes for a Black Manifesto is also presented for the first time in audio form. Recorded from reading group sessions during Araeen’s exhibition at Metroland Cultures, the text interrogates the lack of support from arts institutions for the artists in the UK of Asian and African origins. First published in his independent magazine Black Phoenix more than forty years ago, its questions remain as relevant as ever.
Rasheed Araeen’s practice comes from a radical commitment to improving the world through making art that is engaged with place, time and politics. Born and educated in Pakistan, Araeen trained as an engineer. He is also an artist, writer, publisher and inventor who has been based in Brent for several decades. Rasheed has exhibited widely, and his works have been included in important private and public collections across the world.