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.
Ph: Josh Schaedel