How To Suffer Politely (And Other Etique…

Photo: of an art installation called How To Suffer Politely (And Other Etiquette)
Yaletown – Roundhouse

How To Suffer Politely (And Other Etiquette)

By Kameelah Janan Rasheed

Kameelah Janan Rasheed
How To Suffer Politely (And Other Etiquette)
September 28, 2018 to March 17, 2019

The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first solo exhibition in Canada by Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist, writer and educator Kameelah Janan Rasheed. This project brings together two large-scale, text-based public installations: How To Suffer Politely (And Other Etiquette) presented at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Canada Line Station and An Alphabetical Accumulation of Approximate Observations in CAG’s street level window spaces.

Language is the material through which Rasheed’s artistic practice takes shape and it does so across a variety of public environments: publications, performative lectures, gallery installations, and large-scale outdoor works. Within these modes, she uses expressions of everyday vernaculars and experimental poetics to consider Black subjectivity and the relationships we craft between disputed pasts, a set of sprawling present conditions and contingent futures. Core to Rasheed’s work is a direct address and openness to exchange with her audiences: as an educator, she understands her installations as collaborations.

How To Suffer Politely (And Other Etiquette) both invokes and satirizes traditional etiquette guides. Created in direct response to the escalating visibility of violence against Black people across the United States, the work examines the resulting expectations placed on these communities to find ways to police their reactions while maintaining restraint and civility. More broadly, the work asks its viewers to consider how such self-monitoring of everything from emotional expression to physical movement is used as a tool to perpetuate the social order of oppressive systems. Previously exhibited across the USA, in the UK and in Zimbabwe, each time it is presented the project resonates with the specific social, political and economic conditions of Black communities in those particular locales. In Vancouver, How To Suffer Politely asks viewers to scrutinize our own city’s history of racialized violence towards its Black communities, its erasures of Black visibility and over-simplified narratives about such displacement that continues to this day.

Presented by the Contemporary Art Gallery in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program – IntransitBC.


Kameelah Janan Rasheed (b.1985) is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist, writer, and former public high school teacher from East Palo Alto, CA. Rasheed’s work has been presented at the 2017 Venice Biennale; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Portland Institute of Contemporary Art; Institute of Contemporary Art – Philadelphia; Jack Shainman Gallery, New York; Studio Museum in Harlem,; Bronx Museum; Queens Museum; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev; and many others. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. Rasheed is on the faculty of the MFA Fine Arts program at the School of Visual Arts. New York, and also works full-time as a social studies curriculum developer for New York public schools.