Umar Rashid was born in 1976 in Chicago, Illinois, and currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He earned his BA at Southern Illinois University in 2000.


For the past seventeen years, the Los Angeles-based artist has documented the complex, historical and episodic  saga of a fictional world superpower – the Frenglish Empire. Between 1658 and 1880, the Frenglish rule a trans continental area comprised of dominions, protectorates and colonies including England, France, Turkey, India,  Caribbean, Australia. Over the next two centuries, the Frenglish Empire engages in military endeavours, political  intrigues, dynastic alliances and significantly, colonial exploits and enterprises that arise out of survivalist and ex pansionist imperial policies. During its course, it comes up against a number of rival states agitating for power who  emerge as significant players in the 18th century including its suzerain, the North American Belhaven Republic and  a recalcitrant Dutch republic, the Batavian Empire.  


Across portraits, maps, flags, artefacts, vignettes and drawings and other visual remnants of an imagined empire  and its multiple interactions, Rashid reveals pivotal events and the ever-changing fortunes of a lively array of pro tagonists, both elite and quotidian, all peculiar to a highly novel parallel universe. In this polyglot and multi-racial  world of the mid 17th and late 19th centuries, Rashid collapses time, geography and the real-life dichotomies of  race, class, gender, religion, sexuality and, power. His iconographic work synthesises comic culture, African cosmol ogy, Egyptology, Classical mythology, Native American ledger art, hip hop, Persian miniature, Afrofuturism, grand  history paintings and Renaissance portraiture. In remixing myriad histories – some recognisable and others esoteric  including but not limited to Western European, African and Ottoman, Rashid offers a revisionist, forensic and often  humorous panorama of the early and late Modern periods. His work challenges the legacies and linearities of im perial and colonial historiographies and their influence on the construction of modernity. 


Recent exhibitions include: MoMa PS1, New York, US (2022); Cokkie Snoei, Rotterdam, NL (2022); Almine Rech, Paris, France (2022); Half Gallery, New York, USA (2021); Blum & Poe, LA, USA (2021); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA in partnership with The Huntington, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, USA, (2020); University of Arizona, Tucson, USA (2018); University of Memphis, Memphis, USA (2017); Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, USA (2014); Wellin Museum of Art, Clinton, USA (2013); the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Summit, USA (2013); the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, USA (2013) and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, USA (2012) . 

His work is included in the collections of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art, Jorge Perez Collection, Brooklyn Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Progressive Collection, 21C Museum, the Nevada Museum of Art, and the Wellin Museum of Art amongst others.