10 Years 10 Artists with Abdul Abdullah

May 4, 2017

This year Underbelly Arts turns 10! To celebrate we’ve chatted to 10 bold voices from Underbelly Arts’ past about their projects back in the day, where they are now and what they are working on into the future.

This week we digitally sat down for a chat with Abdul Abdullah.

For Underbelly Arts Lab and Festival in 2013, Abdul Abdullah and his brother Abdul-Rahman Abdullah brought their collaborative work Project Home to Cockatoo Island. In this installation the brothers reconstructed both the sparsely furnished, one-bedroom Bankstown apartment and the Perth home of their childhoods, through doing so, exorcising ghosts of memory, multiculturalism, Xenophobia and the problematic nature of Muslim identity in Australia today.


Where are you right now?


In my studio in Alexandria


What did you do at Underbelly Arts?


I presented a project with my brother Abdul-Rahman Abdullah that looked at the idea of ‘home’.


Photo by Jonny AU of the AU Review


What was the best thing about that experience?


Meeting all the wonderful people that were involved in Underbelly. I’m from Perth originally, and was still living there when I did Underbelly Arts, so I didn’t know many people here. The festival was the perfect introduction to the community.


What is your process for making art? 


Mostly I have a studio-based practice that involves a lot of research and development. Once I have an idea worked out I look for the medium that will best communicate what I am trying to do. Mostly I use painting and photography, but I have also used textiles, installation, performance and video.


Photo by Lucy Parakhina


Where do you get inspiration? 


Mostly from life experience, but also the news.


What’s been your most embarrassing art moment?


I’ll tell you when I have one. haha


If your art could talk what would it say?


It would be really stressed out, and tell you about it.


8 we are the ones that look back from the abyss 2014

Abdul Abdullah, we are the ones that look back from the abyss, 2014


What do you have coming up?


Art Basel HK, Peacock Gallery, The Lock-up in Newcastle and the Guirguis Prize in March, Campbelltown Arts Centre in May, PATAKA Art + Museum in August and a few more things throughout the year.

4 The wedding (Conspiracy to commit) 2015

Abdul Abdullah, The wedding (Conspiracy to commit), 2015


Whats special about Underbelly Arts?


It has such great local community support.


What tips / advice do you have for emerging artists? 


Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.


10 The Ambassadors (Abdul Abdullah, Casey Ayres and Nathan Beard) 2012

Abdul Abdullah, The Ambassadors (Abdul Abdullah, Casey Ayres and Nathan Beard), 2012


Thanks Abdul!