Naeem Mohaiemen - The Young Man Was... - Screening and Discussion

28 Sep 18
Naeem Mohaiemen

The Young Man Was…

28 September, 7pm

CCA is pleased to welcome 2018 Turner Prize nominee Naeem Mohaiemen for a screening of Afsan’s Long Day (40 min) and Abu Ammar is Coming (6 min), from his series The Young Man Was…, followed by a discussion with the artist. This event is inspired by the Civil Rights 50th anniversary commemorations of 2018.

Naeem Mohaiemen’s research-led practice investigates transnational socialist politics in the period after the Second World War, framed by decolonisation and the erasing of political utopias. He combines autobiography and family history to explore how national borders and passports create new peoples. His studio material includes film archives and the way their contents can be lost, fabricated and reanimated. The hope for an as-yet unborn international left, instead of alliances of race and religion, undergirds his work.

October 5th marks the 50th anniversary of a significant civil rights march in Derry in 1968, calling for an end to gerrymandering and discrimination in housing and for the right to vote. This march, and its suppression by the state, is often cited as the galvanising moment of the civil rights movement, and as the starting point of the political conflict that was to dominate the next 30 years. The October 5th march was a manifestation of a new energy and desire for radical change that was reflected globally – the images and narratives of this time from across Europe and North America are familiar to us – including Paris in May of that year and the US civil rights and anti-war movements of the late 60s and early 70s.

Mohaiemen’s series The Young Man Was… presents a complex and contradictory reading of this period of lost revolutionary potential and left solidarity, bringing in lesser known but analogous axes of socialist and national liberation struggles, including those in South Asia and across the Third World. The series considers this ‘What If…? moment from the last century’ and looks beyond the familiar set of international alliances, equivalences, and arguments – creating an opportunity to reconsider how our own political history progressed from that point.

Naeem Mohaiemen’s works, Two Meetings and a Funeral (2017), Tripoli Cancelled (2017), and Volume Eleven (flaw in the algorithm of cosmopolitanism) (2015-2017) will be on view at Tate Britain as part of the 2018 Turner Prize show, alongside fellow nominees Forensic Architecture, Charlotte Prodger, and Luke Willis Thompson from 26th September 2018 to 6th January 2019.

This event is free but booking is essential. Email to reserve your place.

Naeem Mohaiemen was born in London and grew up in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is currently a Ph.D. student at Columbia University, USA.

His films look at forms of the 1970s revolutionary left (underground, and in power), and were shown at documenta 14 (Athens/Kassel), Ashkal Alwan (Beirut), Kiran Nadar Museum (Delhi), ICA, Tate Britain, Frieze, and the Lahore, Sharjah, Venice, and Marrakech Biennials. In 2016, as part of a LUX/Independent Cinema Office project supported by Arts Council to pair artist films with mainstream cinema, his film Abu Ammar is Coming screened across the UK, including Belfast, Glasgow, Brighton, Cardiff, Dublin, Manchester, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, and York. It was installed at the 2016 EVA International Biennial, in Limerick City.

As part of the group project Lines of Control: Partition as Productive Space (Green Cardamom, London), his works on the partition of British India showed at Edinburgh Art Festival, British Council, British Museum, Herbert Johnson Museum, and Nasher Art Museum. He is an advisory member of the ICA Independent Film Council (UK).

Autobiography and family history as a canvas for thinking through how borders make new people, and passports (precious, missing, limbo) militate against class privilege, is a throughline in his work. His grandfather’s faith in the English language as succor from “Hindu domination” in British India, a great uncle’s tragic error of seeing the German military machine as the only available weapon against British colonialism, and the complex family alliances generated by the 1971 war that split Pakistan and created Bangladesh, repeatedly come up in his projects.

Naeem writes essays as companions to his films, including “Adman blues become artist liberation” (Indian Highway, Serpentine), “Traitors, a Mutable Lexicon” (Supercommunity: Diabolical Togetherness Beyond Contemporary Art, Verso UK), “Asterix and the Big Fight: Musee Guimet as Proxy Fight” (Playing by Rules, Apex Art), and “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Campaign” (Assuming Boycott, OR).