Artist Projects

The Young Man Was

Naeem Mohaiemen

The Young Man Was is a history of the 1970s ultra-left, with each chapter in a different medium: journal essay (Sarai, Delhi), performance (New Museum, New York), installation (Beauty Boarding, Dhaka), collage (Pavillion, Budapest), video wall (Finnish Museum of Photography), photography (Cue, New York) and film (Sharjah Biennial, UAE). The research pivots around the tumultuous first ten years of post-1971 Bangladesh, with accidental intersections with Asian and European histories. The tragic arc is of movements that promise rapid revolution, often through rupture and rebirth, but once in power, transform into a mirror image of the defeated previous regime. Postcolonial liberation narratives are scarred by the ruins of such defeated romanticism.

Project Updates

  • 2014: solo show at Kunsthalle Basel

  • 2018: Bellagio Center Residency through The Rockefeller Foundation

  • 2017: The Young Man Was was featured at documenta 14 in Athens, Greece

  • “Last Man in Dhaka Central (The Young Man Was, Part 3)” is the third in a series of films that are part of ‘The Young Man Was,’ a history of the 1970s revolutionary left. Part 1 of the series was initiated with aCreative Capital grant in 2008. The third film in the series will premiere at Venice Biennial 2015, curated by Okwui Enwezor. The latest chapter received initial funding from Creative Time, and was completed with the assistance of the 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship (film-video).

  • Naeem Mohaiemen has received a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship in the “Film-Video” category to work on the next chapter of “The Young Man Was” series. The project began with support from Creative Capital in 2008.

  • “Last Man in Dhaka Central (The Young Man Was, Part 3)” will premiere at Venice Biennial 2015.

  • 2014: Mohaiemen’s Afsan’s Long Day (The Young Man Was, Part 2) premieres at MoMA in New York

  • 2012: Mohaiemen has European premiere of The Young Man Was at IDFA in Amsterdam

  • 2012: The Young Man Was screens at universities throughout Bangladesh

  • 2012: The Young Man Was has New York premiere in Migrating Forms at Anthology Film Archives

  • 2012: Mohaiemen exhibits a timeline wall installation related to The Young Man Was with Experimenter Gallery at Frieze New York

  • 2012: The Young Man Was, Part 1: United Red Army will have world premiere at Hot Docs, Toronto (May 2012), with simultaneous installation at A Space Gallery, Toronto (April-May 2012)

  • 2011: United Red Army, one film component of The Young Man Was, screens in the Sharjah Biennial (United Arab Emirates), at the New Museum in New York and at the Tate Modern in London

  • 2010: I have killed Pharaoh I am not afraid to die, a chapter from The Young Man Was, shows as solo project at Frieze Art Fair in London, then travels to Experimenter (Kolkata), Momentum Biennial (Norway) and Shilpakala Academy (Dhaka)

  • 2009: Live True Life or Die Trying, a chapter from The Young Man Was, shows as a solo project at Cue Art Foundation, New York