As a seventh-generation Muslim Australian of mixed ethnicity who grew up in suburban Perth (an ‘outsider amongst outsiders’), Abdul Abdullah’s (b. 1986) multi-disciplinary practice is motivated by a longstanding concern on the complex feelings of displacement and alienation associated with histories of diaspora and migration. Providing a voice to these rarely told topics, he creates carefully crafted political commentaries that speak of the ‘Other’ and the experiences of marginalised communities. While the fraught dynamic of Muslim experiences have provided the initial framework, Abdullah has consciously expanded his practice to include a broader sense of marginalisation. Intersecting between popular culture, contemporary conflicts and personal experience, his recent works renegotiate histories and create space for alternative possibilities and new conversations. Grounding his outlook with an expansive cultural geography that belies reductive boundaries of nationality, Abdullah represents a new face of emerging artists from the Asia-Pacific region.
Abdullah is collected by numerous institutions, including: the National Gallery of Australia; Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (Australia); Museum of Contemporary Art (Australia); and MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum (Thailand). In 2019, he was awarded the inaugural Australian Muslim Artist Art Prize. He is also a five-time Archibald Prize finalist and five-time Sulman Prize finalist, the most prestigious art prizes in Australia, a rarity for an artist of his years.