Umar Rashid. The gods are indifferent but occasionally rapture the souls of humanity to hold for later judgment. Naval siege of the Fort Zeelandia expansion project by indigenous, and Frenglish raiders. The primary target escapes in a Ferrari whilst condemning everyone else to bombardment. Or, mooning in a canoe while Black and White Jesus look on in awe and terror. 2022. Acrylic and spray paint on canvas. 60 x 60 x 1 1/2 inches (152.4 x 152.4 x 3.8 centimeters). Photo: Josh Schaedel
Umar Rashid’s (American, b. 1976) first solo museum exhibition in New York City will feature over 30 new works that mark the final chapters of his ongoing series, Ancien Regime Change, on view from September 22, 2022 through March 13, 2023. Looking back to the 18th century and its colonial regimes, Rashid’s work explores this critical period of global upheaval and modern transformation through extensive research. This exhibition, Umar Rashid: Ancien Regime Change 4, 5, and 6, features new works that draw specifically on the history of New York. Through his multidisciplinary practice including paintings, drawings, textiles, armor, and a new multimedia sculpture being created for the exhibition Rashid draws on both history and fantasy to create epic narratives that examine how political and cultural power is established and might be undone.
Using a range of sources, Rashid’s work spans real and fictional empires, as well as figures from antiquity to popular culture. Traversing periods, geographies, and cultures, he references sources including 18th century European manuscripts, byōbu (Japanese screen painting), Persian miniatures, Yoruba deities, ancient Egyptian cosmologies, and American rappers. Rashid’s research-based process frees historical events from dominant narratives, and instead proposes counternarratives and critical fabulations. By foregrounding Black and brown people in his paintings, Rashid references the erasure of the key roles that historically marginalized people have played in the construction and deconstruction of Western histories. Within his practice, positions and references collide to reveal multiplicities across places and times, breaking free from a static past into one that is continuously being reshaped in the present.
Umar Rashid lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. He received his BA in cinema and photography from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL. In 2021, his work was featured at The Huntington and the Hammer Museum as part of Made in LA 2020: a version. Recent institutional solo exhibitions include What is the color when black is burned? (The Gold War Part 1) at the University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ (2018); and The Belhaven Republic (A Delta Blues) at the University of Memphis Galleries, Memphis, TN (2017). Rashid’s work is represented in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NY; Jorge Pérez Collection, Miami, FL; Mount Holyoke Art Museum, South Hadley, MA; Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV; Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, Clinton, NY; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; and the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town, South Africa, among others.
Umar Rashid: Ancien Regime Change 4, 5, and 6 is organized by Ruba Katrib, Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, MoMA PS1.
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