The complexity of identity sits at the nexus of Abdul Abdullah’s work. As an artist, he seeks to probe the contradictions that exist within our society, upending assumptions and challenging misconceptions.
Using images of rocky terrains as a starting point, Abdullah has created a series of intricate landscapes overlaid with cartoon-style faces, alongside a choppy seascape that reads ‘HAVE A THINK ABOUT IT’ . These painstakingly painted landscapes with their wry interventions transmit tensions between traditional and contemporary, analogue and digital, representation and reality.
Whether they refer to images of turbulent oceans used by politicians to deter people from seeking asylum in Australia, or stone sentinels greeting us from pristine landscapes, Abdullah’s works appeal to the experience of our personal journeys. They speak to the seemingly insurmountable obstacles we each face in our own lives; from crossing oceans to seek refuge, to the interpersonal and mental health challenges we navigate and overcome in our day to day lives. In these works, Abdullah asks the audience to reflect on those moments of introspection that occur on the way from where we are, to where we’re going.
Art Gallery of New South Wales
24 March – 23 July 2023