Rasheed Araeen, Opus HB 1,2017, acrylic on canvas, 63 x 55 in
Artist Rasheed Araeen didn't wait for the trend. This fluidity of interdisciplinary work within his art found itself at its core.
In 1962, he graduated in civil engineering from the NED University of Engineering and Technology.
Upon arriving to London in 1964, Araeen became an artist as art offered him "a freedom of expression" that the profession of engineering did not.
His studies tough did form part of his artistic vision and led him to create and develop in his artworks "a lattice structure into the oeuvre of Minimalism".
Shapes of triangles and vertical movements emerge through the lattice structure, taking inspiration from nature and the four elements: earth, fire, air and water.
Araeen's artist journey is embedded with social and political attributes. In the 1970s he joined the Black Panther Movement and he later founded Third Text, a journal fusing art and politics and looking at Postcolionalism and Developing Countries, showcasing non-Western perspectives and art.
Rasheed Araeen known as a voice for alternative and Non-Western interpretations of Minimalist and Conceptual art in the 1960s and 1970's, has highlighted political notions even if some Art Institutions did not at first seem too interested in that fusion.
Art and Politics have always been intertwined, it is ever more present and in demand as it has proven its interest with art buyers, art lovers and art viewers.
Today the politics sometimes form part of "storytelling" for branding companies, despite that though, a political notion or message has a very relevant place in art.
Interest for some Art Institutions came about as artists were pushing to be heard but also because of globalisation, thus the globalisation of the art market.
Globalisation has brought to the forefront that a flow of art can occur in both directions, or be multidirectional, East to West, West to East and even East to East or West to West.
The cardinal points or even geographical naming, reduces a complex structure.
Voices from the West or the East need homes all over the world.
Art needs to be shared and be seen, as messages through artworks spread globally, appreciation, affinity and empathy with one another can grow.
Aicon Gallery in New York, specialize in modern and contemporary non-Western art. A platform and home for Modern and Contemporary artists from South Asia as well as the Middle East.
Tonight Rasheed Araeen's exhibition Recent Works opens at Aicon Gallery New York until May 12th.
Expect to see paintings and structures from the series shown at his Retrospective held at the Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven inaugurated December 2017, works on paper from Rasheed's seminal Hyderabad Windcatcher Series and a series of paintings created for the exhibition, titled Opus.
This relays to 2017 when Araeen contributed to documenta 14 in Athens by presenting Shamiyaana – Food for Thought: Thought for Change. The project, inspired by the shamiyaana, a traditional Pakistani wedding tent, situated itself as a functioning restaurant aimed at fostering equality and fellowship between participants.
This influenced his subsequent series of the paintings Opus.
In this collection of paintings, Araeen uses symmetry to represent conceptual ideas that are otherwise invisible. Each painting consists of a grid tipped on the diagonal. The series of work showcases Araeen's ideas of Islamic art in relation to the notions of twentieth-century abstraction.
This is what art does best, showcase different influences, different cultures, different notions and set them together in a painting, in a sculpture, in a project, in any type of artwork. Showing us, what artists have known all along, that art can unite the world.
Rasheed Araeen, Bahar Ay Khushiyaan Laye, 2014, acrylic on wood, 64 x 84 x 7 in.
Pictures courtesy of Aicon Gallery