The Californian artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed creates complex textual arrangements which comment on the social and political conflicts in the United States. As a Black woman and Muslim, she, like many Americans, has been subjected to her share of unfair treatment and discrimination. She processes these experiences in her large-scale, often collage-like typographical works in which text and language serve as her starting point and artistic material. Rasheed’s works are designed to resemble Xerox-copied political pamphlets which she displays in exhibition rooms, on billboards, at bus stops and in shop windows in public areas. Rasheed not only uses language as a medium; she instils the text with its own aesthetic quality, expressed as sparkling, elongated letters on various materials like paper, vinyl or nylon. The works confront viewers with questions or statements that reveal the illusion of self-empowerment in a society characterised by capitalism and racism. For example, in her large-format posters emblazoned with such messages as “Lower the pitch of your suffering” or “Tell your struggle with triumphant humour”, Rasheed’s 2014 cycle “How to suffer politely (and other etiquette)” responds to the common but cynical accusation that Black Americans have not sufficiently objected to the violence they have suffered in the past and are therefore somehow to blame for the social unrest that has followed.
The exhibition at the Kunstverein Hannover will be the first time that Rasheed will present her works to German audiences at the institutional level. In this project, she integrates references to her previous messages and working methods. These include developing an educational programme and ensuring that her works are produced on location in an environmentally friendly manner.
Artistic director: Sergey Harutoonian
Artist: Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Solo exhibition at the Kunstverein Hannover, Hannover: 5 Feb. – 10 Apr. 2022
www.kunstverein-hannover.de (external link, opens in a new window)