Rasheed Araeen / Political consciousness / Social engagement

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” Rasheed Araeen (1935) is a pioneer of modernist art.  credited in Britain for his avant-garde Minimalist sculptures from the ’60s. These latticed three-dimensional grids translated his engineering education into artistic design.

However, his desire for social engagement led him to introduce public participation into his minimalist practice through a series of works called “Structures”. His geometric modular forms were left in gallery and public spaces for viewers to rearrange and reconfigure. The rigid geometry of his sculptures transformed into perpetual flux, becoming willfully unstable, open-ended and interactive.

Rang Baranga (1969)
Rang Baranga (1969

Araeen was amongst the first Pakistani artists to integrate a radical political consciousness in his modernist practice. By the end of the ’60s, Araeen found the language of minimalism limiting. Daily and scarring encounters with racism in Britain prompted him to engage with a more radical politics. He joined the Artists for Democracy (AFD), which brought him into contact with many other black and Caribbean-born immigrant artists. Together they raised a voice against issues of immigration and racism in Britain, and combined their strengths to resist state violence and marginalisation.”

– http://www.dawn.com/news/1161665

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