Midnight’s Third Child (2023)

Midnight’s Third Child

By Naeem Mohaiemen



"Midnight's third child" is a polite translation of the Bangla phrase: chagol'er tritiyo baccha lafay beshi (the goat's third child jumps more). The sentence suggests that the youngest needs to strive for maternal sustenance, and it also proposes a clarity of purpose from being the last born. Bangladesh has existed under three signs– “East Bengal” under British India until 1947, “East Pakistan” under United Pakistan until 1971, and “Bangladesh” after the liberation war of 1971. Given these movements, reversals, and renewals, the idea of Bangladesh remains contingent and contested. Cultural workers can reinforce essentialist ideas around this, or they can choose to challenge majoritarian views. The people, projects, and conversations in this anthology frequently take on a role of speaking back to power.

An anthology of essays by Naeem Mohaiemen on artists and movements, with introductory essays by Tanzim Wahab and Zirwat Chowdhury.



Naeem Mohaiemen (born 1969) uses film, photography, installation, and essays to research South Asia's postcolonial markers (the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948 and the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971). His projects on the 1970s revolutionary left explores the role of misrecognition within global solidarity. He is a member of the Institute of Contemporary Arts Independent Film Council.

Mohaiemen received a PhD in anthropology in 2019 from Columbia University and is an Associate Professor of Visual Arts there. He received BA in economics and concentration in history from Oberlin College in 1993. He was a member of Oberlin College's Board of Trustees (1994–1996).