Naeem Mohaiemen

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Naeem Mohaiemen
Born 1969 (age 46–47)
Nationality Bangladeshi
Occupation Historian

Naeem Mohaiemen (born 1969) is a historian who uses essays, photography, and film, to research Bangladesh after two postcolonial markers (1947 and 1971).[1][2] He is a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow (film).[3]


Naeem is author of Prisoners of Shothik Itihash.[4] He edited the anthologies Between Ashes and Hope: Chittagong Hill Tracts in the blind spot of Bangladesh nationalism,[5] Collectives in atomised time,[6] and System Error: War is a force that gives us meaning.[7]

He was the primary critic of Dead Reckoning, a book by Sarmila Bose on the 1971 war of Bangladesh. His response was cited by the BBC[8] and published in Economic & Political Weekly ("Waiting for a real reckoning on 1971").[9] Sarmila Bose responded to his remarks in the same periodical, followed by a rebuttal from Mohaiemen.[10]

Essays on Bangladesh history include"Muktijuddho: Polyphony of the Ocean",[11] "Accelerated Media and the 1971 Genocide",[12] "Musee Guimet as Proxy Fight",[13] "Mujtaba Ali: Amphibian Man" (The Rest of Now, Rana Dasgupta ed.),[14] "Mujib Coat" (Bidoun journal),[15] and "Everybody wants to be Singapore" (Carlos Motta’s The Good Life).[16] He wrote the chapter on religious and ethnic minorities in the Ain o Salish Kendro Annual Report for Bangladesh.[17]

Essays on diaspora include "Known unknowns of the class war" (Margins, Asian American Writers Workshop),[18]"The skin I'm in: Afro-Bengali solidarity and possible futures" (Margins, Asian American Writers Workshop),[19] "Beirut, Silver Porsche Illusion" (Men of the Global South, Zed Books),[20] "Why Mahmud Can’t Be a Pilot" (Nobody Passes: Rejecting the rules of Gender and Conformity, Seal Press),[21] and "No Exit" (Asian Superhero Comics, New Press).[22]

Essays on culture include "Islamic Roots of HipHop" (Sound Unbound, MIT Press; Runner Up for Villem Flusser Theory Award),[23]"Adman blues become artist liberation" (Indian Highway, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist)[24] and "At the coed dance " (Art Lies: Death of the Curator).[25]


Naeem’s films include "Abu Ammar is Coming", Rankin Street, 1953, Der Weisse Engel, and SMS Iran: After Gilles Peress.

Since 2006, he has worked on a series of films under the project The Young Man Was, a history of the 1970s left. Part 1 of the series was United Red Army,[26] about the 1977 hijacking of Japan Airlines Flight 472 by the Japanese Red Army. United Red Army premiered at Sharjah Biennial, Hot Docs,[27] and IDFA.[28] It has shown at various museums, including The New Museum in New York[29] and is in the permanent collection of the Tate Modern museum in London.[30][31] Part 2, Afsan's Long Day premiered at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2014 as part of "Doc Fortnight".[32] It had a festival premiere at Oberhausen[33] and a British premiere at the BFI London Film Festival.[34] Part 3, Last Man in Dhaka Central premiered at the 56th Venice Biennial 2015, as part of "All The World's Futures" curated by Okwui Enwezor.[35]


Naeem co-founded Visible Collective,[36] a collective of New York-based artists and lawyers investigating security panic. Visible's work exhibited internationally, including the 2006 Whitney Biennial of American Art ("Wrong Gallery" room)[37] and L’institut des cultures d’Islam in Paris.[38] His solo projects have looked at military coups ("My Mobile Weighs A Ton" at Dhaka Gallery Chitrak),[39] surveillance ("Otondro Prohori, Guarding Who?", Chobi Mela V at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy),[40] Indian partition ("Kazi in Nomansland" at Dubai Third Line),[41] architectural nationalism ("Penn Station Kills Me" at Exit Art),[42] and dueling leftist and Islamist politics ("Live True Life or Die Trying" at Cue Art Foundation, New York).[43] Chapters from his ongoing research on the 1970s ultra left have shown at the Pavilion (Bucharest),[44] New Museum (New York),[45] Frieze Art Fair (London),[46] and MUAC Mexico City.[47]

Museum projects have been supported by Creative Time,[48] Creative Capital,[49] Samdani Art Foundation,[50] Sharjah Art Foundation,[51] Rhizome,[52] Franklin Furnace,[53] and Puffin Foundation.


The work has been featured in Granta,[54] Modern Painters ("Art & War"),[55][56]Art Review,[57] Rethinking Marxism, Springerin, Arab Studies Journal, and Brooklyn Rail.


Naeem graduated from Oberlin College in 1993 with a BA in Economics and Concentration in History. He was a member of the college's Board of Trustees for the 1994-1996 term. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Historical Anthropology, with a Certificate in Comparative Literature,[58] at Columbia University.


  1. ^ Bengal Forum
  2. ^ ISEA 2010 Ruhr Exhibitions
  3. ^ 2014 Guggenheim Fellows- Creative Arts-Film-Video
  4. ^ Prisoners of Shothik Itihash on Amazon
  5. ^ Samya Kullab, "Championing Pahari Rights", Star Weekend Magazine, 17 September 2010. (17 September 2010). Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  6. ^ Collectives in Atomised Time, with Doug Ashford, Idensitat Press. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  7. ^ System Error, with Lorenzo Fusi, Silvana Press
  8. ^ Alastair Lawson, "Controversial book accuses Bengalis of 1971 war crimes", BBC, 16 June 2011
  9. ^ Economic & Political Weekly, Vol 46 No. 36, 3 September 2011
  10. ^ Sarmila Bose, "Dead Reckoning: A Response". Economic & Political Weekly, Vol 46 No. 53, 31 December 2011
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Economic & Political Weekly, Vol 43 No. 04, 26 January 2008
  13. ^ Playing by the Rules: Alternative Thinking/ Alternative Spaces (9781933347431): Robert Atkins, Julie Ault, Rene Block, Winslow Burleson, Biljana Ciric, Renaud Ego, Sofija Grandakovska, Boris Groys, Marina Grzinic, Pablo Helguera, Naeem Mohaiemen, Raphael Rubinstein, Irene Tsatsos, Steven Rand, Heather Kouris: Books. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  14. ^ Silvana Editoriale. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  15. ^ Bidoun #14
  16. ^ Carlos Motta: The Good Life: Art in General New Commissions Program Book Series Vol. XVIII (9781934890189): Eva Diaz, Anne J Barlow, Stamatina Gregory: Books. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  17. ^
  18. ^ [ Asian American Writers Workshop]. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  19. ^ Margins/ Asian American Writers Workshop. Retrieved on 6 March 2013.
  20. ^ Men of the Global South: A Reader (Global Masculinities) (9781842775134): Adam Jones: Books. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  21. ^ Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity (9781580051842): Matt Bernstein Sycamore: Books. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  22. ^ Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology (9781595583987): Jeff Yang, Parry Shen, Keith Chow, Jerry Ma: Books. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  23. ^ Sound Unbound – Table of Contents – The MIT Press. (31 May 2008). Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  24. ^ Indian Highway Catalogue SOLD OUT Serpentine Gallery. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  25. ^ A Contemporary Art Quarterly
  26. ^ Guy Mannes-Abbott, Sharjah Art Foundation, 18.03.2011. (18 March 2011). Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  27. ^ [2] Hot Docs. Retrieved on 9 December 2012.
  28. ^ [3] IDFA Website. Retrieved on 9 December 2012.
  29. ^ [4] New Museum Digital Archive. Retrieved on 9 December 2012.
  30. ^ [5] In conversation with Bernadette Buckley. Retrieved on 9 December 2012.
  31. ^ [6] Out of the Archive, London Consortium at Tate Modern. Retrieved on 9 December 2012.
  32. ^ [7] MOMA: Doc Fortnight. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  33. ^ [8] Oberhausen In Competition
  34. ^ [9] BFI London Film festival: Material Evidence
  35. ^ [10] Venice Biennial Artist List
  36. ^ Press. Disappeared In America. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  37. ^ "Down by Law", curated by Wrong Gallery. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  38. ^ Collectif Visible – Institut des Cultures d'Islam. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  39. ^ Nader Rahman, "Blurred pictures and sharp words", Star Weekend Magazine, 29 August 2008. (29 August 2008). Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  40. ^ Jamil Mahmud, "Naeem Mohaiemen takes a look at fear mongering", The Daily Star, 20 February 2009. (20 February 2009). Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  41. ^ Beena Sarwar, "Artists Take On Post-Colonial Partitions", IPS, 6 February 2009. (6 February 2009). Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  42. ^ History | 2007. Exit Art. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  43. ^ Brian Boucher, Art in America, 1/15/2010. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  44. ^ "What was socialism, and what comes next?", Pavilion, #10–11. (PDF) . Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  45. ^ ArtCat Zine – Events – Naeem Mohaiemen at New Museum. (27 January 2009). Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  46. ^ "Retour à Frieze", Le Monde, 26 October 2010. (26 October 2010). Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  47. ^ (Spanish) Concepción Moren, "arte, ficciones, política y violencia", El Economista, 20 June 2011. (30 June 2011). Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  48. ^ Global Residency
  49. ^ Creative Capital
  50. ^ [11] Samdani Art Foundation
  51. ^ Sharjah Biennial
  52. ^ Rhizome at New Museum
  53. ^ Franklin Furnace
  54. ^ High Noon (IV) | Online Only|Granta Magazine. (30 September 2010). Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  55. ^ Modern Painters: Complicating the History of the Left
  56. ^ » Modern Painters: Art & War. (22 April 2008). Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  57. ^ Art Review Future Greats 2012
  58. ^ Columbia University: Our Graduate Students

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