Abdul Abdullah - God is With Us (still)

Abdul Abdullah

Australia 1986

Installation, Photography, Painting


Abdul Abdullah
Abdul Abdullah
December 28, 2015

The work of Abdul Abdullah is shaped by the strong political discourse and yet visually appealing executions. Namely, the matters of identity, race, and homeland are meticulously articulated through several different media spanning from painting, over photography to installations. By employing the stereotypical imagery, the artist wisely dissects the mechanisms of hatred and all of its hidden layers. Therefore, Abdullah attempts not just to question his own identity, but to warn the observer of the consequences of any form of segregation which is in accordance with contemporary global social and political circumstances.

The Australian artist run a project which was related with the experience of his community
Abdul Abdullah – I want to hold your hand, 2013 (Left) / It doesn’t matter how I feel, 2013 (Right)

Artistic Development

Abdul Abdullah was born in Perth in 1986. He comes from the family of mixed Australian-Malay heritage. Interestingly, one of the artist’s ancestors was a British convict who arrived in Australia in 1815, having stolen two stamps and a watch chain in London, while his mother is Malay and his father converted to Islam in 1972, adopted an Arabic name and raised Abdullah as a Muslim. From 2006 to 2008 the artist studied at the Faculty of BEAD, the Curtin University of Technology with BA in Art and from 2015 to 2017 at the UNSW Art and Design with the degree of Masters by research.

Deploying the themes of themes of belonging, alienation and multiculturalism

His works are made at his home and are mobile for a view in the gallery
Abdul Abdullah – Bride, 2015

The Matter of Origin and Acceptance As the Main Subject

The artist’s starting point is embedded in the continued feeling of being an outsider among outsiders. The decision to become fully dedicated to socially engaged art is related to the often anxiety and frustration Abdul was exposed to due to being a Muslim. His works reveal an intimate atmosphere and need for teasing out the conflicts of mixed race with tenderness and poignancy. In a practice that continues to evolve across new subjects and mediums, Abdul Abdullah remains committed to exploring the beauty, the complexity and the challenges of identity in order to express bold statements aimed for deconstructing labels and cliches.

The ape masks are undermining the racial stereotypes

Abdullah was in contact with the community and you can read about his help in the media
Abdul Abdullah – We are blood and bone, 2014 (Left) / You see monsters, 2014 (Right)

Portraits of Abdul Abdullah

The outstanding portraits of Abdullah reveal a close and intimate connection with his subjects and reflect the artist’s bold determination for opening controversial issues. In his Siege series of photographs created in 2014, Abdullah questions the problems of youngsters who are experiencing stigmatization on daily basis. By drawing visual cues from the documentation of the 2011 London riots and news footage of the 2010 Arab Spring, the narrative of this work reflects the disorientation of a generation under fire and is a theatrical portrayal of loss and emotional volatility. With the work Homeland, Abdullah processed the stereotypes differently through the photographs and paintings to point out how identity is misinterpreted in contemporary culture.

The art in service of spreading awareness

He belongs to post 11 septembre generation and you can like post with his interview on abc
Abdul Abdullah – Most Fair, 2016


The latest exhibition of Abdul Abdullah symbolically titled Burden critically deals with moral justifications which were used to validate examples of contemporary imperialism. On the same trail as with his earlier works, the artist is interested in how the Western media are constituting the image of the Others, whether those asylum seekers or provisional workers or any other group of the Third-world origin. The paintings are in accordance with contemporaneity to the core and are combination of fine portrayal and graffiti look alike emoticons. In order to cynically express the absurdity of racism respectively modern day fascism, the artist paints his friends and Malayan relatives with either sad emoticon or a scratch over their eyes, whilst the soldier’s portraits are covered with smiley emoticons.

Strong and bold political messages of Abdul Abdullah

If you like this peculiar and rising Australian artist you can follow his home page
Abdul Abdullah – Radical, 2016 (Left) / Protect, 2016 (Right)

The Rising Star

Abdul Abdullah has been short-listed three times for one of Australia’s most prestigious art awards – the Archibald Prize. His work has been included in several important collections, such as National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Islamic Museum of Australia, University of Western Australia and private collections in the United States, Australia, and India. With his politically charged art practice, Abdul Abdullah cynically extrapolates an examination of universal aspects of human nature, coming from a standpoint of deep understanding and empathy, not only for one particular ethnic group but rather for the global majority of colonized people.

Abdul Abdullah resides and works in Sydney.

All images are courtesy of the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2017Terms of engagement UNSW Galleries NSWSolo
2016BurdenFehily Contemporary VICSolo
2016Coming to termsFehily Contemporary NSWSolo
2015Coming to termsChasm Gallery NEW YORKSolo
2015Asia Pacific TriennialGallery of Modern Art QLDGroup
2015PrimaveraMuseum of Contemporary Art NSWGroup
2015Epic Narratives - PICA SalonPerth Institute of Contemporary Art WAGroup
2015Post-Hybrid; Re-imagining the Australian selfJohn Curtin Gallery WAGroup
201524SEVEN ScreenLawrence Wilson Gallery WAGroup
2015WA Focus: Abdul Abdullah and Abdul-Rahman AbdullahThe Art Gallery of Western AustraliaDuo
2015The Skin off our timeContemporary Art Centre of South Australia SAGroup
2015Video StageArt Stage SingaporeGroup
2015Fair is foul, and foul is fairTurner Gallery WAGroup
2014I see a darknessFuture Perfect SINGAPORESolo
2014SiegeFehily Contemporary VICSolo
2014Sealed SectionArtbank NSWGroup
2014Domestic Departures (with Jasper Knight and James Oram)Chalk Horse Gallery NSWGroup
2014The ListCampbelltown Arts Centre NSWGroup
2014START Art FairFehily Contemporary, Saatchi Gallery, London UKGroup
2014ART14 (with Penny Byrne, Kate Shaw and Michelle Hamer)Fehily Contemporary, Olympia Grand Hall, London UKGroup
2013HomelandFehily Contemporary VICSolo
2013Being Eurasian (With Leslie Morgan)Fremantle Arts Centre WADuo
2013Project HOME (with Abdul-Rahman Abdullah)Underbelly Arts Festival, Cockatoo Island NSWDuo
2013ORIENTingLawrence Wilson Gallery, UWA WAGroup
2013Homecoming (with Tada Hengsapkul and Adnan Chowdhury)Fehily Contemporary VICGroup
2013The SocialCampbelltown Art Centre, NSWGroup
2013Interregna (with Nathan Beard and Casey Ayres)MOANA ARI, WAGroup
2012MongrelFehily Contemporary VICSolo
2012Melbourne Art Fair (with Sally Smart and Gosia Wlodarczak)Fehily Contemporary C46, Royal Exhibition Centre, VICGroup
2012Beyond LikenessLawrence Wilson Gallery, UWA WAGroup
2012The Greater Asia co-Prosperity Sphere (with Nathan Beard and Casey Ayres)NGV Studio VICGroup
2011Them and UsKings ARI VICSolo
2011Relative Issue 4 Launch (with Enya and Deejo)The Bird, Northbridge, WAGroup
2011You Am IHume Global Learning Centre VICGroup
2010Creative CultureAustralia on Collins VICGroup
2010The Postcard ProjectKinross House and Centre for Theology and Ministry-Melbourne University VICGroup
2009KIDS (with David C. Collins)Moores Building contemporary art gallery WADuo
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