The Beetroot Robe, Qasim Riza Shaheen

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The Beetroot Robe, Qasim Riza Shaheen

May 7, 2021 - August 14, 2021

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Twelve Gates Arts is delighted to welcome back Qasim Riza Shaheen for his second solo show, The Beetroot Robe. In June 2012 Twelve Gates Arts hosted Shaheen’s enchanting exhibition In a World Where There Are Five Women I Am the Seventh. This new body of work emblematically centers around another myth-like story. It takes us on a journey through colors, characters and codes. Shaheen renders multiple translations of The Beetroot Robe in several languages, drawing attention to the nuances of interpretation and vocal rhythms of the narrator. The works are ceremonious, part of an imagined future, part remembrance of the past. The preparatory and shard-like visual narratives remind us of Shaheen’s trajectory, his consistent exploration of unions between ambiguity and mystique. In this show Shaheen’s posed portraits look back at the viewer, invoking the power of retrospect to elucidate the process of longing and aging.

The Beetroot Robe will be on view in the 12G gallery space from May 7th, 2021, until August 14th, 2021. Information about associated virtual programming, including an artist talk and a panel, can be found on the Twelve Gates Arts website. The gallery is open Thursday-Saturday, 11 am- 5pm, and also by appointment. To schedule a private tour, email

Qasim Riza Shaheen (b. 1971) is a British artist and writer based in Manchester. Working across participatory performance, installation, film and photography, Shaheen’s practice explores memory, notions of beauty, sexuality, love and, more broadly, fundamental concerns about human nature.

 “In films, video performances, photographs and mixed-media drawings, Qasim Riza Shaheen presents his affecting reflections on love and loss…For him, self-portraiture is more a matter of imaginative self-creation than any pretence of authentic self-definition…His enactments of queer romance, straight social alienation, and the universal melodramas of unrequited desire are choreographed with painful sensitivity.”

 Shaheen’s work was part of the group show Text Embodied at 12G in May 2013.  His solo show “In a world where there are five women I am the seventh” was on view in May 2012. Qasim Riza Shaheen’s performance work titled Misplaced Memoirs was part of “perform[art]ive,” 12G’s pilot performance art biennial for Philadelphia in 2015.

Qasim extends an invitation to narrate or translate The Beetroot Robe. Every rendition will be uploaded on instagram (thebeetrootrobe) and will be an ongoing project. Please email for details.

For more information, check out the Twelve Gates Arts page here!


May 7, 2021
August 14, 2021
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Twelve Gates Arts
51 N. Second Street
Philadelphia, PA United States
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