Christopher Gregory for The New York Times

Artist Statement

As a learner, Rasheed grapples with the poetics, politics, and pleasures of the unfinished and uncontained. She is invested in Black storytelling technologies that invite us to consider ways of [un]learning that are interdisciplinary, interspecies, and interstellar. Because not all stories are for everyone, Rasheed’s work considers Black storytelling technologies in relation to the surveillance states, or how we tell stories that consider interiority, lenticularity (or varying modes of visibility and legibility), revision, and spiritual syncretism.

Engaging primarily with text*, Rasheed works across different substrates and compositional fields. She works on the page, on walls, and in public space to create associative arrangements of letters, words, and shapes that invite an embodied and iterative reading** process. Rasheed creates ecosystems of iterative and provisional projects. These projects include sprawling, “architecturally-scaled” xerox-based collages; large-scale public installations; publications; prints; digital archives; lecture-performances; library interventions; performance scores; poems/poetic gestures; and other forms yet to be determined.

* text as anything that can be read
** reading is a (cognitive, spiritual, socio-political, and somatic) process of decoding symbols to derive meaning

Artist Biography 

Kameelah Janan Rasheed was born in East Palo Alto, CA. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Rasheed has a MA in Secondary Social Studies Education from Stanford University (2008), a BA in Public Policy from Pomona College (2006), and was an Amy Biehl U.S. Fulbright Scholar - South Africa at the University of Witwatersrand (2006-7). Since 2016, she has been on the faculty at the School of Visual Arts in the MFA Fine Arts program.

After five years as a high school social studies teacher and many more years in a variety of learning contexts since 2001, Rasheed transitioned into curriculum design and teacher coaching in 2013. Since 2013, Rasheed has worked with an education non-profit as a curriculum developer and adult professsional learning manager supporting secondary social studies teachers develop their practices. Rasheed is the founder of Mapping the Spirit as well as the owner and founder of Orange Tangent Study.

Representation: NOME (Americas and Europe).

Museum Exhibitions: Brooklyn Museum; New Museum; MASSMoCA; Queens Museum; Bronx Museum; Studio Museum in Harlem; Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University; Portland Institute for Contemporary Art; Institute of Contemporary Art - Philadelphia; School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University; MoCADA; and Stamp Gallery at University of Maryland

Gallery Exhibitions (US): Jack Shainman Gallery; Jenkins Johnson Gallery; Los Angeles Contemporary; Brooklyn Academy of Music; Ghebaly Gallery; AA|LA Gallery; Richard & Dolly Maass Gallery at SUNY Purchase; Visitor Welcome Center; 8th Floor; The Luminary; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Governors Island; SOAP Factory; BRIC; and Vox Populi

Gallery Exhibitions (International): NOME Gallery;  Transmission Gallery; Akershus Art Centre; Kunsthalle Wien; Bétonsalon - Centre d'art et de recherche; Haus der Architektur; Contemporary Art Gallery-Vancouver; Artspace Peterborough; 2017 Venice Biennial; Pinchuk ArtCentre; Wysing Art Centre; and National Gallery of Zimbabwe

Community + Public Institutions Exhibitions: Brooklyn Historical Society; Brooklyn Public Library - Central; Project Row Houses; Weeksville Heritage Center; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and Printed Matter

Public Art: Ballroom Marfa, Brooklyn Museum, For Freedoms x Times Square Art, Public Art Fund, Rice University - Moody Center for the Arts, The California Air Resources Board, and Yaletown Roundhouse

Forthcoming Exhibitions: Williams College Museum of Art (2021); Athens Biennial (2021); Glasgow International (2021); and Prospect.5 (2021)

Grants + Awards: Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice (CARSS) at Columbia University Rapid Response Grant (2020); Visiting Artist in the Print Department, University of Texas, Austin (2020); Northern Trust Purchase Prize at EXPO Chicago (2019); We, Women Photography Grant (2019); Alumni Award for Art in Community - Laundromat Project (2017); The Harpo Foundation Grant (2016); On Religion Photography Grant, Magnum Foundation (2016); Triple Canopy at NYPL Labs Award (2015); Artadia Grant (2015); and Art Matters Foundation Grant (2014)

Residencies: International Studio & Curatorial Program (Vision Residency, 2020); Tiger Strikes Asteroid Short Term Residency (2020); Triangle Arts (2019), Pioneer Works (2018-2019); Katowitz Radin Brooklyn Public Library-Central (2018-2019); Summer Art & Social Justice Residency and Exhibition at the New Museum (2018); Smack Mellon (2016-2017); Creative Exchange Lab - Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (2016); Center for Afrofuturist Studies at PS1 (2016); Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Process Space (2015); Lower East Side Printshop (2015); Vermont Studio Center (2014); Working Classroom (2014); Center for Book Arts (2012); Center for Photography at Woodstock (2012).

Fellowships: Guggenheim Fellowship in Fine Arts (2021); AIR Gallery Fellowship (2015); Jerome Foundation Fellowship Program - Queens Museum (2015); and Create Change Laundromat Project Fellowship (2013).

Artist Publications: An Alphabetical Accumulation of Approximate Observations (Endless Editions, 2019), No New Theories (Printed Matter, 2019), and in the proper direction: forward/also the ache of (perceived) velocity (Printed Matter, 2017)

Public Collections: Kadist, Rubin Foundation, Center for Photography at Woodstock/Extended Loan-Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, Studio Museum in Harlem, Center for Book Arts, Leeway Foundation, University of Maryland - College Park, The Speed Art Museum, Block Museum of Art - Northwestern University

Board Membership: Board of Directors - Sadie Nash Leadership Program (2017-present); Board of Trustees - Metropolitan New York Library Council (2020-present); Board of Directors - Printed Matter, Inc. (2021-present)  

Request a full CV and/or portfolio


TEXTE ZUR KUNST ONLINE: Wuensch, Michaela. “Mathematik, Schwarzer Nihilismus und Afropessimismus Michaela Wünsch über Kameelah Janan Rasheed in der Galerie Nome, Berlin.” Texte Zur Kunst, May 22, 2020

ALBANY TIMES UNION: Weinstein, Tresca. “Interrupted MASS MoCA exhibit reinvents itself.” Albany Times Union, August 24, 2020.

GUARDIAN: “We, Women: the platform staging a ‘visual rebellion’ – in pictures.” The Guardian, January 22, 2020.

HYPERALLERGIC: Raicovich, Laura. “Why Libraries Have a Public Spirit That Most Museums Lack.” Hyperallergic, November 7, 2019.

ARTFORUM.COM: Halpert, Juliana. “Kameelah Janan Rasheed talks about her work at the Brooklyn Public Library.”, April 1, 2019.

BOMB: Johnson, Amber Rose. “The Language of Duress: Speech/Acts at the Institute for Contemporary Art, Philadelphia.” BOMB, November 7, 2017.

VOCA/Voices in Contemporary Art: Diyal, Mira. “On Refusal: Kameelah Janan Rasheed.” VOCA, November 7, 2017.

THE NEW YORK TIMES: Rodney, Seph. Celebrating King the Activist (Not Just the Dreamer) in Art. The New York Times (January 2021).

ARTREVIEW: Liberty, Megan N. “Review of Kameelah Janan Rasheed at Brooklyn Historical Society, New York.” ArtReview (January 2020).

THE NEW YORK TIMES: Jacobs, Julia. “A Sound-and-Art Show Fills a Void for Muslims in Brooklyn.” New York Times, September 9, 2019.

HYPERALLERGIC: Bury, Louis. “An Artist Adopts Avant-Garde Poetry to Express the Limits of Language.” Hyperallergic, November 16, 2017.

GUERNICA: Interview with Imani Roach. “Kameelah Rasheed: Who Will Survive in America?” Guernica, March 6, 2017.

HYPERALLERGIC: Rodney, Seph.” A Black American Artist Explores Her Refusal of Christianity.” Hyperallergic, May 18, 2016.

ART21: Gleisner, Jacquelyn. “The Archives of Kameelah Rasheed.” Art21 magazine, (March / April 2015).

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COLOPHON: Website design by Rush Jackson via Onyx Self-Imaging, 2020–2021.