Rasheed Araeen



Collection: Courtesy the artist.

Rasheed Araeen’s work Oui was produced during the period the artist became conscious of systematic discrimination in the artistic scene of Great Britain. Araeen made the work in response to the planned exhibition Un Certain Art Anglais: Selection d'Artistes Britanniques, 1970-1979 organised by the British Council at the Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris. Despite claims to represent new developments in contemporary art in Britain during the 1970s, the exhibition only presented the work of white artists. Appropriating the slogan of the British Council’s exhibition, it reads: “Existe-t’il un art anglais? OUI!” (Is there an English Art? YES!), we also see within the text of Oui the words “BLACKS OUT” repeated. The work questions the ethnocentricity of official representations of the English art scene during this period, and the unwillingness to acknowledge the contributions made by black and Asian artists to the development of modern art. In an open letter to the British Council by Araeen and fellow artist David Medalla, they state: “We now feel concerned because the British Council is adamant in persistently projecting the white image of Britain abroad, as if there are no black people in Britain or they are not part of British reality, and as if black artists have done nothing significant in the field of art reflecting a contemporary reality”.

Events View all

Ensembles View all