In his practice as a historian, writer and visual artist, Naeem Mohaiemen explores failing utopias and the historical narratives of the international left…
Naeem Mohaiemen (born: 1969, London) works in Dhaka (Bangladesh) and New York (USA). Mohaiemen’s work as a writer and filmmaker ranges across essay films, academic debates and mixed media installations. He uses these forms to research the revolutionary left, and states of belonging, at the edge of postcolonial markers. The written word, in translation, collage and footnote, is an obsession underlining his projects.
Chapters from an ongoing project, The Young Man Was (2006–), have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (Doc Fortnight, 2014 and 2016), the 56th Venice Biennale (2015) and the Sharjah Biennial, UAE (2011), among other venues. Project themes have been described as “revolutionary past meaningful in the sudden eruption of a revolutionary present” (Kaelen Wilson-Goldie, Bidoun), “a reflection on the conditions of masculinity that shape these cultures of radicalism and, possibly, doom them to failure” (Murtaza Vali, Modern Painters) and “their materiality performs the indeterminacy of the event they record” (Sarinah Masukor, West Space).
Historian Afsan Chowdhury has bracketed the work of Naeem Mohaiemen, Nayanika Mookherjee, Bina D’Costa, Dina Siddiqi and Yasmin Saikia as a “second wave of history writing” about Bangladesh. In 2014, Adam Szymczyk curated a survey show of Mohaiemen’s research project Prisoners of Shothik Itihash (Correct History) at Kunsthalle Basel. The work is in the permanent collection of the British Museum and the Tate Modern. Naeem Mohaiemen is represented by Experimenter Gallery (Kolkata), and his films are distributed by LUX (London). He is a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow (film) and a Ph.D. candidate in Historical Anthropology at Columbia University.