This publication is a compilation of all three issues of the journal Black Phoenix published as a single volume. Edited and published by Rasheed Araeen and Mahmood Jamal between 1978 and 1979 in the United Kingdom, Black Phoenix remains a key and radical document of transnational solidarity and cultural production in the visual arts, literature, activism, and beyond.
More than a decade after the liberation movements of the 1960s and the historic Bandung and Tricontinental Conferences, which called for social and political alignment and solidarity among the nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America in order to dismantle Western imperialism and (neo)colonialism, Black Phoenix issued a rallying cry for the formation of a liberatory arts and culture movement throughout the Third World. International in scope, Black Phoenix positioned diasporic and colonial histories at the center of an evolving anti-racist and anti-imperialist consciousness in late 1970s Britain and beyond—one that would yield complex and nuanced discourses of race, class, and postcolonial theory in the decade that followed. Black Phoenix proposed a horizon for Blackness that transcended racial binaries, across the Third World and the West.
Contributors include art critics, scholars, artists, poets, and writers, including Rasheed Araeen (Pakistan) and Mahmood Jamal (Pakistan), Guy Brett (United Kingdom), Kenneth Coutts-Smith (United Kingdom), Ariel Dorfman (Chile), Eduardo Galeano (Uruguay), N. Kilele (Tanzania), Babatunde Lawal (Nigeria), David Medalla (Philippines), Ayyub Malik (Pakistan), Susil Siriwardena (Sri Lanka), and Chris Wanjala (Kenya).
Rasheed Araeen is a Karachi-born, London-based artist, activist, writer, editor, and curator. Aareen founded the critical journals Black Phoenix, Third Text, and Third Text Asia, and took on activist roles with the Black Panthers and Artists for Democracy. His work has been exhibited widely, including, most recently, at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Chicago; BALTIC Centre of Contemporary Art, Gateshead; MAMCO, Geneva; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Tate Britain, London; the 2017 Venice Biennale; and Documenta 14, Athens/Kassel, among others.
Mahmood Jamal was born in Lucknow, India, and moved to Britain from Pakistan in 1967. He published several books of poetry, including Sugar Coated Pill (2007), and translated the Islamic Mystical Poetry: Sufi Verse from the Early Mystics to Rumi (2009) and Faiz: Fifty Poems (2013), among other titles. In 1983, he co-formed the all-Asian Retake Film and Video Collective production company, and initiated Epicflow Films in 1989. Jamal worked as an independent producer and writer; produced several documentary series, including Islamic Conversations; was a lead writer on Britain’s first Asian soap, Family Pride (1991–92), and wrote and produced Turning World (1996) for Channel4 television. He died in London in December 2020.