I pretty much spent the first week carving hair texture into a dog sculpture lamenting all the while how long it was taking, my planned four weeks turned into seven and I started stressing about getting three dogs finished in time. I'm really happy with how the first one turned out and hopefully now that I've worked out a few things they should be a bit more straightforward. Once I was done I quickly belted out a little leaf sculpture to send away to Romania for a project. Once I actually know where it ends up I'll put some pictures up. I got stuck straight into the next dog and I'm pretty happy that it's coming along a fair bit quicker, although it is smaller. I delivered a bit of a talk at PICA to launch the edition, I don't think I did a very good job of speaking and I hope it doesn't reflect badly but that's kind of the way it goes. 50Fifty opened at John Curtin Gallery, I wasn't able to attend the opening but I checked it out and was very happy with my work installed next to a new commission by Tarryn Gill. Other than that I've been planning the installation of a few elements of my public art project at Rosewood Aged Care and talking to Khaled Sabsabi and Nur Shkembi about upcoming projects. I was approved for a fairly substantial grant from Australia Council to do a project at ACE Open in Adelaide early next year with eleven collective, more on that when we develop the project further. I also received a couple of swaps that I organised earlier from Richard Lewer and Vipoo Srivalasa, I scored some amazing work for the collection which was super exciting. Last week Anna and I delivered a whole bunch of work to be freighted around Australia, she has a solo show going to Pompom Gallery in Sydney and I sent work to the Pro Hart Outback Art Prize, the Leonora Art Prize and to Sydney for We are all affected with eleven collective. Tomorrow I'm heading into Rosewood to do my first install, I'm pretty nervous about having to work on a very large and kind of frantic construction site but everything should be in order, I've go my induction cards, tagged my tools and hopefully everything goes smoothly with so many tradies looking over my shoulder. My best pal Andrew Christie will be helping me out. We finally got some rain down here and everything has turned green, it's looking really beautiful and I can see four Kangaroo's outside my office window. Trevor is looking pretty happy about the rain, although he like to stand in it getting soggy and looking confused.
Picking up where I left off, my solo show Among Monsters opened on the first of May. It was a pretty fun, hectic kind of day. A leisurely breakfast with Anna's folks who came over for the show and off to Bayside Arts & Culture for Anna's opening Gift Horse from 1-3. At 3 I was picked up by a little film crew from Chemical Media to get some footage on the way to my opening from 4-6 at This Is No Fantasy + dianne tanzer gallery. It was a really great turnout with a whole bunch of amazing artists showing up, a few friends from Melbourne and people from ACCA and the NGV. I felt very respected which is a great feeling as an artist. Thank you Melbourne. I did a bit more filming and headed off for a celebratory dinner at he Grace Darling. We flew to Adelaide the next day, I had a couple of meetings at Jam Factory and ACE Aopen, and saw Leigh Robb's show Versus Rodin at AGSA. It was the best show I've ever seen, she's an absolute gun curator. Mind blown. Adelaide was great and we caught up with a whole bunch of art folk for a couple of days. Back to reality and I was back in the studio finishing off a couple of plinths for the PICA edition and getting stuck into making my work for Pataka, this is going to be the biggest work I've ever made and I have quite a journey ahead of me, at least 4 months of carving and then a big install. We now have a poddy calf to raise, her name is Sundae and she like to dribble on things. The crew from Chemical Media came to Perth and did a bunch of filming with my bro, dad and I down at the farm, the next day they came back for a bunch more with me. Trevor will make his television debut, good fun, I hope it turns out well. Still buried late every night in the studio working on the first of three running dogs for Pataka and did a little photoshoot for PICA. Over the last couple of days of April I flew to Sydney to do some radio and filming for the doco, I got to meet the rest of the artists in the doco Ameer Rahman, Sara Mansour, Cigdem Aydemir and Safdar Ahmed, it's a very smart group of people, it was also lovely to catch up with my bro and Amrita. Now it's back to the studio.
March was super busy, quite a lot of travel and a hectic deadline. The beginning of the month was heads down bum up for Anna and I as we raced our freight deadline down to the wire. I got everything finished, built the crates and ready to be picked up for March 7. Operating in Perth just means I have to have stuff finished a few weeks early to allow for freight time. In between I've been busily pouring concrete in moulds for the PICA edition that I'm working on and having some failures along the way which has been a little frustrating. I've worked out my mould issues now and hopefully I'm back on track. I had a little volunteer help in the studio from Bruno Booth, an excellent new artist here in Perth who is going to go a long way I think, much appreciated that's for sure. I'm still ticking along with my public art job getting samples of glass printed using ImagInk, so far everything has come back looking really good. Not something I want to get wrong. I flew to Dubai to meet up with my brother, Mikala Tai from 4A Gallery and a few others for a whirlwind visit to Art Dubai and the Sharjah Biennial. We saw a lot of art and stayed in the fanciest hotel I've ever been inside of. We visited a few collectors, went to some dinners and pretended that we were rich people for a while before I had to come home, back to reality for a very quick week in the studio before heading off to Melbourne and Adelaide. Anna and I both had solo shows opening on the same afternoon of Saturday April 1, one after the other. Melbourne was heaps of fun, I hadn't been in town for almost a year and it was great catching up with some familiar faces. We visited Vipoo's studio ClayLAB and I organised a swap with him that I'm very happy about, I love his work. We installed Anna's show on the Wednesday of that week and mine on the Friday, I'll have to tell you about the actual openings next time because by then it was April. I'm always complaining about months going by too quick but this one definitely did, I only got a couple of weeks in the studio in between flying around living way beyond my means!
Last month of summer but you'd never know from the rain we've been having for a few days. The river got so high it almost broke it's banks which is super weird for February, we still got plenty of late 30's early 40's too. I started off with a quick trip to Sydney again to give a talk and panel talk at Campbelltown Art Centre. It was another moving afternoon with plenty of in-depth discussion around Myruman Sukamarans story. I got to catch up with a whole bunch of Sydney folk again, always a pleasure. The picture above is a selfie with me, Ben Quilty and his amazing XC Ford Coupe, he's a good egg that guy. It was also great to catch up with my bro, nice to overlap cities for a change. Back in the studio I've been blazing away getting the final works finished for my solo show on April 1. It's been such a busy six months that I'm riding really close to the freight pick up deadline on this one. I have the time but that's all I have. I'll post pics of the work as soon as it makes sense. I've also been working out the PICA edition with Nadia Johnson and the new senior curator at PICA Eugenio Viola. A bit of a change in scale and finish and the work is coming along nicely. Eugenio is an absolute gun curator from Napoli, he's done some amazing projects all around the world and I really hope our sleepy little city can hold his interest. He's super smart and I can't wait to see what he brings us, everyone is excited. I was selected as a finalist in the Sovereign Asian Art Prize in Hong Kong, it's an awesome list of artists that includes the legendary Hahan from Jogja. I'm happy to be considered alongside him! His work in the prize is phenomenal, I'm picking him as the favourite. The Marri trees are in full bloom at the moment and there's flowers everywhere on the farm, it's a beautiful time of the year, I love this place. Trevor the goat got a new collar with little glow-in-the-dark studs, he seems pretty happy about it. I installed my work at Kidogo Arthouse for Sculpture at Bathers, it seemed topical to put the only fish related works I've done in the show. Otherwise it's been a heads down bum up month of carving in the studio. I'm really happy with my new works and looking forward to the opening in Melbourne. Anna is also opening her solo show Gift Horse a couple of hours before mine, same afternoon, same city. We've both been hammering it out for that freight pick up, nothing like a little pressure to bring out the best of us!
2017 has been flying by. What's been happening? We had a lovely new years with a bunch of fine people coming to the farm and hanging out. I finished off a couple of moulds, built a crate and sent stuff to Meridian Foundry in Melbourne. We're going to see some bronze works soon. I've been busy finalising a fundraising work for PICA, making moulds, pouring concrete and organising electroplating. I started on a new work for my solo show coming up in April - after an abortive attempt to sculpt fabric from photographs I made a full size reference to follow and life got a lot easier. Lot's of fun getting my blades back into wood again, it feels like a while since I carved. We went to Sydney January 11-15, I visited the family in Kiama and went to the opening of Another day in paradise at Campbelltown Art Centre. It was quite an intense project to be a part of and I really appreciate being involved. Thanks Ben Quilty, Michael D'Agostino, Kate Britton and the CAC team! Also, the Sukamaran family and other artists, Myuran Sukamaran, Megan Cope, Matthew Sleeth, Khaled Sabsabu Jagath Dheerasekara and Taloi Havini. There was a forum on the Saturday and a lot of hard topics got talked about. It was also great to catch up with a whole bunch of people, I really love the art nerd community in Sydney there are so many warm folk that I'm happy to see. Back at home I got stuck into carving and finished off the work, photographed it and built a couple more crates. I have to make my own now that I'm on the farm but it's kind of fun, nothing too complex. I also submitted another grant, spent a lot of money on materials, entered a couple of prizes and hustled my ongoing public art project along. I also mowed our giant lawn, did a bunch of gardening and hung out with Trevor the goat. It's been a super mild summer for some reason and didn't get too hot which was nice, Perth summer is usually an oven but my first summer on the farm ain't bad at all except for the snakes... and the scorpions who've been appearing in the studio. Beautiful skies though, check out the picture of our studio.
December was back into the studio with a vengeance finishing off my next work for my solo show in April 2017, I finished the sculpture and the mould and got it crated and sent to Meridian Sculpture Foundry in Melbourne. I can't wait to see it in bronze, it's been a while since I've had one done. I also got cracking on my work for the next PICA edition, more information on that as it comes to life. Anna and I snuck away for a few days of indulgence at the Empire Spa in Yallingup, thanks to my sister Rabiah and her super generous honeymoon wedding gift! We also helped Rabiah to install a Juz Kitson work that she'd commissioned earlier in the year, it's a fairly scary undertaking with around 140 individual ceramic parts. It looks amazing in her house. I gave a talk at the Wesfarmers new offices in the city, big thanks to Helen Carroll, it's a temple of corporate glory there, my work is keeping some amazing company in the collection. I also gave a talk at the Bankwest Prize. Christmas swung by and a few days were put aside for eating, drinking and presents which is always heaps of fun. 2017 is upon us and the train rolls on!
I totally forgot to do an October entry, I was completely distracted by life events raining all around me. Big, happy, amazing life events! I'll blaze through things quite quickly, there a bunch of stuff to cover. Firstly, I got back from China and the new studio was pretty much finished so I unpacked all my stuff and helped Anna set up big white walls on her side. We went straight up to Kondinin for a few days for Anna to judge their Art Prize which was a nice little post travel holiday. I got stuck into the Red Heifer work that I did for the Cow Parade here in Perth, I only had eight days to do it and it all got done. It ended up in AGWA so I'm pretty happy with that, it's right next to a huge Richard Bell painting which was totally unexpected. Thanks to City of Perth and Artsource for that one. I've managed to adopt a baby goat after his mother was killed, he totally thinks that I'm his mum now and follows me around being super cute, but that's a whole other story. I made my work for Another Day in Paradise at Campbelltown Art Centre in January next year, pics to come, it' spacked and ready to go. Big thanks to Ben Quilty and Michael D'agastino for that, I love working with CAC. I know I've forgotten a bunch of stuff but the wedding was the big one, on November 12 Anna and I were married in a magical ceremony and reception on the farm. We had about 130 people in our back yard which was all decked out with string lights, chandeliers and banquet tables. We had Silat performers, line dancing, a Lebanese feast and loads of friends and relatives from Malaysia, the east coast and US. We had an amazing time and my Uncle Nazeri absolutely killed it with his stunning flower pieces, he is a genius floral designer from Malaysia and worked with completely new Australian plants. It's been an amazing last few weeks with lots of friends and relatives in town. It was really really beautiful, I couldn't be happier! The Bankwest Art Award opened last week, big congratulations to Tarryn Gill for taking it out, well deserved! I've also been doing a bunch of talks recently - an address at my old High School Applecross SHS for the Special Art Awards night, an RTR interview with Jacui Ball, an artist talk at John Curtin Gallery for Invisible Genres, a talk about the Abdullah brothers for the Bureau of Ideas, a short talk and panel discussion for Art Cargo; Symposium on the migration of ideas through art run by Artsource. I've got a talk for the Bankwest Prize in a couple of days and one at the Wesfarmers Collection next week. On top of it all I've just written a grant and had a steroid injection in my right wrist to fix up swollen tendons. It doesn't stop and I'm a happy happy man. The farm is looking beautiful and everything is peachy. I've also got to start a treatment for my left achilles tendon, I'm getting a bit old and falling apart but I've just married my soulmate! I'll let this wrist rest for a couple of days and then it's back to the salt mine, art won't make itself. X
I don't think it makes too much sense adding a news entry for September, I've pretty much laid out the entire month in detail in the section 4A Beijing Residency. Please check it out. I will add that I came home to a finished studio, Anna oversaw the last bits and now I'm in there and working away, woohoo!
Here's a picture of a beautiful marble work by Christian Lemmerz I saw in the 798 District, Beijing.
August has blazed by and winter is almost over, it's been a pretty soggy few months and I'm looking forward to some sunshine. Life has really been occupying a lot of my time, the studio is completely packed up and waiting to be moved into the new one. We have framework and a couple of walls up, the next week and a half are going to be completely hectic trying to get the build finished and everything moved in before I go to China on September 8. I've been splitting my time between painting the outside of the house, writing proposals, writing an essay for Dead Centre, getting the next part of my current public art project underway, organising the new studio being built, packing the old one and planning the rest of the year. I've got about a years worth of works planned and the hustle is going to be getting everything done in the right order. I've been over in Sydney for the last couple of days meeting the good folk at Campbelltown Art Centre to cook up some plans for a show next year. I'll cough up more details when it becomes clearer, there are a few bits of news that I have to sit on until I can announce them. I finally went to an MCA Artbar while I was in town and my bro took me to the premier of Cirque du Soleil which was lot's of fun. I'm going miss a couple of things while I'm away, the opening of Dead Centre and Invisible Genres at John Curtin Gallery which is a shame but I should be well and truly distracted by China. Apologies for the kinda boring update, more fun stuff to come.
July has been full of ups and downs with delays and timelines being rearranged all over the place. I've been living at the farm and travelling up to the studio in Fremantle, the shed we ordered has been delayed so everything got squashed into a much tighter timeframe. Nothing insurmountable however, just a massive inconvenience. I'm going to stop whinging now and focus on the good stuff. My 50% meeting for Rosewood public art commission went really well, everyone loved the work and now I'm just waiting for the next payment so I can wade into the next component of the project. It's the trickiest part for me but I'll be working with some excellent people - my sister Rabiah Letizia and legendary Perth artist Eva Fernandez. I was also successful in getting a Development Grant from the Department of Culture and the Arts to go towards my next solo show Among Monsters in April next year. Otherwise I've been busy organising an exhibition called Dead Centre that Anna and I are curating at Spectrum Project Space for September. It's been a great challenge putting my curators hat on and writing about the amazing works that we've put together.The artists in the show are - Tony Albert, Abdul Abdullah, Olga Cironis, Brown Council, Nathan Beard, Megan Cope, Liam Colgan, Thea Costantino, Léuli Eshraghi and Angela Tiatia. It's going to be a killer show! It's been fun setting up our new house, I'm very pleased to now have a library, I'm feeling very fancy about that. I'm not looking forward to packing the studio for the move, there's three years worth of stuff to organise amongst everything else to do.
Life took over art for a while in June, Anna and I have been furiously renovating our new house and have just moved in. Patching, painting, sanding floors and installing a new kitchen is not a huge amount of fun but we're laying the groundworks for our future. Next month we'll start building the studio and life will be full of awesomeness. We're living in Anna's grandma's old house on her family farm just south of Perth. It's a 45 minute drive from the CBD and we're surrounded by a couple of thousand acres and a few hundred happy cows chomping away at the grass. I've never lived out of the city before and I'm falling in love with the wide open spaces, birds and fresh air. I think it will have a big impact on the way I work when I get set up down here. Check out the picture of our new backyard, I feel like I've stepped into a cheesy pallet knife painting. Lot's of happiness ahead! Work wise I've been snatching time in the studio to finish off a couple of things for a public art job I have on the boil, some delays and some mistakes but everything is back on track now and I should hit my 50% meeting with no problem. Life has picked up an extremely hectic pace but it's all good problems to have. I got a highly commended in the Waterhouse Prize for Natural Science, no money but it means that my work Fremantle Waters will travel to Canberra for another showing. I'm also heading to China for a month in September for the 4A Beijing Residency at Shen Shaomin's studio, a big thank you to Mikala Tai for that vote of confidence. I'll be going over with Justin Shoulder (NSW) and Eugenia Lim (VIC), I'm looking forward to meeting them and it should be super interesting. I had a great result at the annual Firstdraft fundraising auction with my work fetching the second highest price (I think), it was bought by a legendary collector. I'm very appreciative and happy to support First Draft in any way I can, they do such an amazing job over in Sydney. On a less fun note, the posters for HERE&NOW16 keep getting vandalised with anti Muslim graffiti and other nonsense, Pauline Hanson has been returned to the senate and the right wingnuts seem to be getting louder and louder in Australia. Oh well, I'll keep making work and pissing them off by being happy!
May was another fun month, it started off with the opening of HERE&NOW/GENYM, curated by Hamida Novakovich at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery (UWA). It was a great project that was put together over the last few years, culminating in a fantastic show of Muslim artists from around Australia. There was also a packed forum on the following day where we heard from a bunch of new, very important voices from different artists. I'm very happy to say that UWA acquired my work Practical Magic from the exhibition. Straight after that I went to Melbourne for a week with my partner Anna, I was in an exhibition titled The Fraud Complex, curated by Peter Johnson and Denise Thwaites at West Space, in association with Next Wave Festival. Anna also had an exhibition that she'd curated with Justin Hinder for Next Wave Festival titled Telltale, at Arts Project Australia. Both openings went really well and we had a great time in Melbourne hanging out with other artists and curators taking part in the festival. I submitted a bunch of applications, hopefully I'll be hearing some good news soon. The Art Gallery of South Australia finalised the acquisition of my work Merantau from the Adelaide Biennial, it was a fantastic finish to a fantastic project, Lisa Slade is an amazing curator to work with, the whole team at AGSA set the benchmark for Australian art. Back in the studio I finished the first work (pictured above) for my upcoming solo exhibition Among Monsters at This Is No Fantasy + Dianne Tanzer Gallery next year. I've also begun work on a new piece for the Bankwest Art Prize later on this year. My work Fremantle Waters should be appearing in the Waterhouse Art Prize for Natural Science at the South Australian Museum, hopefully people like the work and maybe, just maybe it gets a decent look in. I've been busy keeping the ball rolling on a public art job that I'm undertaking, getting a bronze cast and juggling different contractors to deliver some fancy carpentry and laser cut woodwork to be installed early next year at Rosewood Aged Care Facility, Leederville (WA). The next month is going to be hectic, we're renovating a house to move into on a property south of Perth, as well as planning to build a new studio while making art the whole time. It's a juggle and time seems to just evaporate but Anna and I will work our butts off to give ourselves the life we want. I'll be giving a presntation at PICA with Teelah George this Saturday, talking about making the transition from art school to a professional practice to art students, it should be a bunch of fun. The team at PICA are great to work with, they're always on the ball and know how to fill a room. Until next month!
April has just finished and I'm here in Melbourne for some meetings and to check out some shows in Next Wave Festival 2016. My brother and I have work in The Fraud Complex, curated by Peter Johnson and Denise Thwaites at West Space opening on Thursday May 5. My partner Anna has a show that she has curated for Next Wave with Justin Hinder called Telltale, it opens on Saturday May 7 at Arts Project Australia.Every time I come back to Melbourne I forget about how miserably cold it is here, great place to visit but not so great for freezing my butt off! It should be a fun week however. Last weekend Here&Now16 opened at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery at UWA, this year was curated by Hamida Novakovich. It was a great opening and a super interesting forum the next day, lot's of Muslim artists having their say to a decent crowd of folk. Lawrence Wilson has great support on the ground, every time I've worked with them it has been a fantastic experience. Earlier in the month my brother Abdul Abdullah and I received a Multicultural Recognition Award for the Visual Arts, he wasn't in town so I got up to receive the little medal on behalf of us both. It's nice to feel like our work is being recognised outside of a purely art audience.Other than that I've been writing a whole lot for the past few weeks - a proposal, a grant and a residency application. I hope they all come through and my job keeps ticking over, it's a daily hustle to keep this little train rolling but that's all part of the fun; being super busy and mostly broke. I've started a new work for my solo show at This Is No Fantasy + Dianne Tanzer Gallery, it will be my first commercial solo show in three and a half years so I'd better make it a good one. I'll post pics of work in progress as they happen in the studio, I'm going back to something spooky this time. It was awesome having my brother in town for the Here&Now16 opening and it'll be good to see him again this week in Melbourne, he's still my favourite artist and a killer human being, if you haven't seen his work then go check out www.abdulabdullah.com there's no excuse anymore. On with the bodycount...
Hello! Again I seem to have slipped behind just a little bit, I feel like I'm kind of buried in the studio constantly and only coming up for air every now and then. The Adelaide Biennial was amazing, such a tight show across five different venues. The team at AGSA are so full of energy - Nick Mitzevich, Lisa Slade and now Perth's own Leigh Robb are pretty much the benchmark here in Australia. I met so many of my heroes and spent the week feeling like a little king. When I got back to Perth I buried myself in a new work for Here&Now16 at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery (UWA), curated by Hamida Novakovich. I really don't like riding this close to the deadline but that was the timeframe I had and it'll get done. Last week I went to Yogyakarta for six days to see my brother Abdul Abdullah. He was doing a research residency over there and I took the opportunity to check the place out and meet some artists. Yogya is the contemporary art capital of Indonesia for sure, there are so many fantastic artists there. We got to meet the legendary Ecko Nogroho in his studio, I'm still a bit awe struck with the level of industry and killer work I saw over there. I've also finally began a public art project for Rosewood Aged Care Facility in Leederville, it has been delayed by a couple of years but now it's chugging along nicely. I'm also pretty excited that I can now slip images into my news section, this one is me and my bro at Borobudur Temple in Yogyakarta.
Huge apologies for being so absent in the past couple of months, I was completely buried finishing my work for the Adelaide Biennial and felt like I had nothing new to add to my news for a while. Having said that my work is over there waiting for me to come and unpack him, it's my most ambitious work to date and I hope it goes down well. It's been an amazing experience so far, Lisa Slade is a complete gun, Australia's finest curator I think! I've just finished a work for a show in Melbourne in May called The Fraud Complex, at Westspace curated by Denise Thwaites and Peter Johnson for Next Wave Festival 2016. I'll be heading over to Adelaide feb 22 - 29 for the install and opening of the Biennial, it's going to be heaps of fun! I just got back from Sydney where I attended the opening of the Blake Prize at Casula Powerhouse, another night of fun. Congratulations to Robert Hague and Damien Shen for taking out some prizes, it was a massive show and they did a fantastic job hanging my work, super dramatic. My partner, now my fiancee Anna is already over in Adelaide undertaking a curatorial internship with the Biennial, it's been great getting updates of her daily adventures at AGSA. I miss her a lot, I always do. I'll try and be a little more consistent with my news here, no more going AWOL for a while!
This month went by way too quickly for my liking, where has the year gone? I've been basically in lock down, working on my pieces for Magic Object at the beginning of next year. I was up against the clock in getting some finished imagery ready for the catalogue, this is the most ambitious work I've attempted so far, ayaaaaah! I also installed two public art commissions for the Town of Victoria Park, big thanks to Helen Mathie from Artwise Art Consultancy, Jahne Rees from Scape-Ism Concrete and Jessie Sipes from Perth Castings, you're all super easy to work with and super slick with the work you do. Please check out the results, I've uploading them under the Town of Victoria Park. I've pretty much cancelled any travel for the rest of the year, if you need me I'll have my head buried in a large piece of wood and an ever growing pile of wood chips.
Another entertaining month has slipped by and I'm back in the studio mapping out the work I need to make up until next April. It's a nice feeling knowing pretty much what I'll be up to until then but I'm kind of super nervous about making everything to the best of my abilities. Sydney was great fun, I headed over for Spring 1883 and Sydney Contemporary, a big thanks to the DCA again for the Artflight grant. Flights, freight and accommodation are such a huge help when it comes to showing over east and I'm very grateful for any support. I caught up with bunches of art folk who descended on Sydney for the week for the party. Tash Bienek was having a solo with This Is No Fantasy and I had a couple of works in the stockroom along with Juan Ford, Vincent Namitjira, Petrina Hicks and Jacquie Stockdale, Tash has been having an amazing year and it's such a bonus being part of the same gallery as her. Dale Buckley and Dan McCabe did an amazing job with Moana Project Space at Spring 1883, I think they had the best room amongst a very slick group of galleries from all over the world. It's great to leave it all behind however and get back to where the hard work actually happens, I think I'll be laying low and putting my head down for the next few months.
The first half of August was spent doing a residency at Galeri Petronas in Kuala Lumpur, alternating between arctic aircon and the sweltering streets around the Petronas towers. It was a great opportunity to tie up some of the research that I started in Sulawesi, piecing together my family history in Negeri Sembilan. I've traced back eighteen generations through Malaysia and Sulawesi Selatan, reaching back to the 1500's. It turns out that the stories of royal lineage in Malaysia are very true, it made the research so much easier with solid records going back to the Luwu Palace in Sulawesi Selatan and spreading through the royal families of Johor, Selangor and Riau. Along with a solid presence of mercenaries, opium and slave dealing and an extremely complex web of marriages, alliances, wars and trade. It's nice to know that my ancestors went to war with the Dutch Empire at their height of power and lost in glorious fashion. I caught up with a whole lot of family that I hadn't seen for years, the days I spent with my uncle Nazeri back in Kampung Linggi were the best. The food was amazing, I could feel myself getting a bit fatter every day. I arrived back in Australia on my birthday, landing in Adelaide to meet up with Anna and check out the spaces for the biennial next year. Lisa Slade and Harriet Flavell at AGSA are so easy to work with, nothing ever seems like too much trouble. Adelaide is such a beautiful town, we spent a few days there driving around in the hills and eating food, maybe Adelaide traffic was a nice change from the carnage of central KL! It's a daunting prospect and I've got a reasonably limited time to attack the most ambitious work I've attempted so far but I think I'm ready. At least I hope I'm ready to squeeze a few centuries into a few pieces of wood. I already managed to lose another fortnight getting my materials together before I head off to Sydney in a few days for the art fairs, three days delivery time somehow turned into fourteen. If you're in town please come and check out my work with This Is No Fantasy at Sydney Contemporary, Carriageworks and at Spring 1883 with Moana Project Space, it's going to be a lot of fun. I'll take the opportunity to chill for a bit while I'm there, as soon as I get back I'll be burying myself in the studio and not really coming up for air for the next four months.
I'm here up on the tenth floor of the Aston Makassar, it's been a fantastic couple of weeks in South Sulawesi with my dad. We've met artists and explored the city, retracing dads journey through here in 1968. Up in Tana Toraja we wandered through the highlands amongst the caves and graves, Tau-Tau figures stared down at us from the cliffs and solemn water buffaloes took their morning walks. I finally made it out to Palopo, the capital of the old Luwu kingdom and the heartland of the Bugis people. I traced my roots back to the humid mangrove coasts of the Gulf of Bone, where the kings of Luwu launched their prau carrying spices, opium and slaves. Finding the link between the Bugis of Malaysia and their roots in South Sulawesi has been something really special. Walking in my dad's footsteps through this place has opened my eyes more to who he was and why I'm here. I can't wait to get back into the studio, I've got ideas falling out of my ears and I want to start making again. But first I'm off to Malaysia for a two week residency at Galeri Petronas. In other awesome news I was in the Wynne Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Anna and I went over for the artists lunch the day before I left for Sulawesi. We had such a great time over there for twelve hours and a massive congratulations to Natasha Bienek who took out the Wynne, her work is genius. Also a huge high five to Jason Phu for the Sulman Prize, the man is a legend and his work is pure poetry. Hopefully I can now concentrate purely on my work for the Adelaide Biennial until the end of the year, I'm feeling the pressure and I want to do something ambitious.
What a great month, I got quite a bit of good news throughout. I won the sculpture section of the Leonora Art Prize, thanks to Rodercik Sprigg keeping it real out there in the desert. I received an Arts Projects grant from the Australia Council and a Development grant from the Department of Culture and the Arts, both in support of my upcoming project for the Adelaide Biennial 2016. I also received an Artflight grant from the Department of Culture and the Arts to freight works and attend SYdney Contemporary with Dianne Tanzer Gallery + Projects and Spring 1883 with Moana Project Space. I'm also a finalist in the Churchie Emerging Artist Award up in Brisbane, the exhibition will open at the end of July, super stoked about that. I delivered my last talk at AGWA, I hope it went down well. I prepared a whole speech and then got a little lost, I'm pretty sure it gave a bit more background to my brother and I. We've still been reveiving a lot of great press for the show. Epic Narratives - PICA Salon 2015 opens in a few days, it will be my first time showing at PICA, big thank you to Leigh Robb and Nadia Johnson, you guys are the best! The next update I'll be writing from sunny Makassar, I'm really looking forward to the next few weeks. Sydney, Makassar, Rantepao, Palopo, Kuala Lumpur, Adelaide and then home again. I've almost finished all my works for the September Art Fairs, I'll be happy to get them crated and ready for freighting before I head off. I'm feeling very blessed with the life I get to lead as an artist, there are always so many fun challenges to tackle. Also, congratulations to my friend Matthew Thorley and his wife Amy, they've become parents this month!
What on earth happened in May, let's see..... I was back in the studio making work the Sydney art fairs in September, getting through a few smaller things and finalising some waxes up at Perth Casting, the bronze foundry. It's been great having full studio days and nights. Gave a few talks and interviews, the show at AGWA has been getting lot's of press and I'm happy to stick my hand up and wave. I finished the month with a trip to Melbourne for the opening of my partner Anna Louise Richardson's first interstate solo show Gelded at MARS Gallery. It was a fantastic show, thanks to Andy Dinnan for the opportunity. I also checked out Arcadia at Glen Eira Council Gallery, I'm very happy to be in there with some amazing artists, big thanks to Diane Soumilas for that one. Windows to the sacred opened down at Mornington Peninsula Gallery as well, big thank you to Robert Buratti the install looks awesome. Now I'm waiting on grant news and burying myself in some new work.
It's been an amazing month for me! Started off with a trip to Sydney to install my solo show at Alaska Projects. The install went great and the rest of the trip was spent visiting awesome Sydney artists and hanging out with my brother. My lovely partner Anna came for the weekend but had to miss the opening. The opening itself was packed and I had heaps of great responses to the work. Huge thanks to the killer team they've got at Alaska - Sebastian Goldspink and Bradley Vincent, you guys are the best! After that it was back to Perth to install a big work at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery for the HERE&NOW15 exhibition curated by Andrew Purvis. There was a great line up of WA artists including myself, Rebecca Baumann, David Brophy, Jacobus Capone, Loren Kronemyer, Tanya Lee, Shannon Lyons and Alistair Rowe. Thanks also to Ted Snell, Lyle Branson and Anthony Kelly. It was a fantastic opening, people were lining up to go inside my work, I felt like a bit of a jerk but one at a time was the ideal way to experience the work unfortunately, still.. I wouldn't have lined up for it. I'm very grateful that people did. The other opening was the WA Focus; Abdul Abdullah & Abdul-Rahman Abdullah at the Art Gallery of Western Australia. Huge high five to Robert Cook who orchestrated the entire event! It was such a great install, taking advantage of the ceiling heights and space afforded by such a big institute. Loads of great press with ABC, RTR, SBS and a bunch of other interviews. I love presenting with my brother, he's my biggest art hero. Now that the show has opened to the public we've been getting lots of love here in Perth and a good dose of hate as well. People see a Muslim name and reveal their true colours pretty quick! The last couple of days I've been back in the studio starting some new works for Sydney Contemporary and Spring 1883. Great month!
Everything is packed and on it's way to Sydney for my solo show at Alaska Projects, I hope enough Sydney folk will come along to the opening on April 8. Other than that I'v been getting everything together for the show at the Art Gallery of Western Australia with my brother Abdul Abdullah. The show is called WA Focus; Abdul Abdullah and Abdul-Rahman Abdullah and will put quite a lot of our work together in one space, I'm really looking forward to the install, it should be a pretty dense exhibition. Big thanks to Robert Cook for curating the show and organising everything at AGWA, the opening will be April 21.
Perth's had a few great shows open this month, Tracey Moffat at PICA, Theatres at Moana Project Space and the WA Museum. Subiaco pARk has gone live, curated by Gemma Weston for the Perth International Arts Festival, myself, Loren Kronemyer, Dan Bourke, Josh Cobb-Diamond, Minaxi May, Simone Johnson, Keiron Broadhurst and Jo Richardson created sculptural works using augmented reality technology, it's a great spin on the idea of a sculpture park. I've been buried in a world of grant writing, making sure I can get a large project for the second half of 2015 supported (I hope). The Town of Victoria Park have approved everything to go ahead with two permanent bronze works, it's going to be an interesting process with a lot of the work out of my hands. My brother-in-law David Letizia had his final fight last Friday, it was a twelve round war that he lost on points to Rob Powdrill, giving up his IBO Asia-Pacific title in the process. Great way to go out and the crowd was wild for the whole fight, he gave back as good as he got from a man 15 years younger. 30 years in the ring and he's still got the fire! Now the grants are in I'll be head down in the studio again finishing work for three shows in April.
This month has been cooking, getting to 40 degrees outside we even managed 43 a couple of weeks back. It's been another busy month, moving house closer to the studio with my partner Anna. My bro has moved to Sydney and is having a great time by all reports, I'm visiting him for his birthday next week, I already miss him. I'll be going to Nathan Beard's opening at Artereal while I'm there and finalising my ideas with Sebastian Goldspink at Alaska Projects. Back in the studio I've started work on my installation IN THE NAME for Alaska Projects in April, it's a bit of a silicone party at the moment but I'm very happy with the progress so far. Lot's of research and writing, getting my head around projects in the second half of the year. 2015 is going to be an awesome year.
Final update of the year! It's been a hectic last couple of months, I've just got back from a trip to Paris, London and Melbourne with my partner Anna, loads of art and food and art! A few shows have happened in that time, 'Sealed Section' at Artbank, 'Semblance' at Dianne Tanzer Gallery + Projects, 'Summer Show' at Venn Gallery and 'Menagerie' at ACCA. I was awarded two public art commissions for the Town of Victoria Park, the area that I grew up in will have a couple of new bronzes later in the year. On a sad note, Venn Gallery has closed it's doors here in Perth, it was great space with great people, big thanks to Desi Litis for having faith in me while I was still at art school. The ABC documentary has been on TV a few times recently and I've ben getting some great feedback, a few articles have popped up as well including a great one written by Chloe Mandryk for ARTAND, Scoop and a few mentions in the West Australian and the Australian newspapers via Ted Snell. I've just been given a development grant to cover some expenses for a solo show in April at Alaska Projects in Sydney, thanks DCA.
It's been a massive year for me and I've hatched a whole bunch of plans for 2015 and beyond, I'm not sure if anyone reads these updates but if you do THANK YOU!!
Another great month in the studio, lot's of visitors recently. I've finished off filming with ABC for an upcoming documentary and finalised the design document for the public art project that I'm working on. I've been shortlisted for the Fishers Ghost Art Prize and had a few works in fundraisers such as the Firstdraft Gallery Fundraiser (NSW) thanks to Kate Britton, Babana Men's Group Fundraiser at Carriageworks (NSW) thanks to Tony Albert and the Paper Mountain Fundraiser (WA) thanks to Alina Tang. My brother and I are off to Brisbane this weekend for the opening of 'Art Calls', a project by Tracey Moffat at GOMA that we were both a part of, pretty excited to hang out with Tracey and check Brisbane out.
This month I've been buried back in the studio working on a piece for the Bankwest Prize in November. I managed to put three stitches in my finger with a bit of chisel finger stabby business, a little inconvenient but I gave myself a few days off from carving. A few prize related things have come up recently, I've been shortlisted for the Victoria Park Art Award (WA) and the Deakin University Small Sculpture Award (VIC). I'll have a bit more exciting news when I'm allowed to talk about a few curated shows coming up at the end of 2014 and early 2015. My brother Abdul Abdullah won the Award for Excellence at the Victoria Park Art Award and my girlfriend Anna Louise Richardson took out the Emerging Artist Award at the Busselton Art Prize, a great weekend for wins all round!
I've returned to the real world after a whirlwind couple of weeks in Sydney and Melbourne. My brother and I were in Campbelltown for the opening of 'The List', it was a huge turnout, I'm so impressed with the audiences that the art centre brings to Campbelltown. Huge thanks to Michael D'Agastino and Megan Monte, the whole project was an amazing experience, I'll be posting interviews soon. I did a bunch of filming with ABC arts putting together a documentary that will be released later in the year. After that I went down to Melbourne for the art fair which also turned out to be a fantastic experience, a bunch more filming, loads of press and a super positive response to the work. I've been curated into a pretty amazing show at the end of the year, details will be forthcoming as soon as I'm allowed to talk about it. Thanks heaps to Valerie Sparks, Dianne Tanzer, Jemma Clark and Nicola Stein at the This Is No Fantasy stand, such a great team! Now it's back to sunny Perth to finish off a couple of pieces, work on a commission, keep plugging away at my public art project, submit a grant and start banging away at the next project, the Bankwest Art Prize.
A huge congratulations to my brother Abdul Abdullah, a finalist in the Archibald prize for the third time with an amazing portrait of Richard Bell. I'm flying out at midnight tonight to join him in Sydney for the announcement of the winning portrait, fingers crossed! Everything for the Melbourne Art Fair is crated and ready to be picked up next week, it feels a little empty in my studio, all my toys are in boxes.This month has seen a bunch of interviews and filming that I'll be posting soon, I'm still very new to it and hopefully I get a little more confident each time.
Another month buried in the studio finishing off the last work to be freighted to the Melbourne Art Fair, one of the joys of working in Western Australia is having to be ready a month early for east coast shows. A few weeks ago my brother Abdul Abdullah and I took part in a project called 'Art Calls' with Tracy Moffat, pretty surreal having a skype chat with Tracy, she's full of energy and really easy to talk to, the project will be showing at GOMA in Brisbane October 25 - February 8, 2015. I have also been doing a bunch of filming with Perth film maker Peter Cheng, he's putting together a short documentary for his ongoing project 'Perth Artists', Peter packs a lot of skills behind that insane moustache of his, a real pleasure to work with.
A few other bits of good news, I was shorltisted as a finalist in the Bankwest Art Prize 2014, this year it is focused on sculpture which is a nice change. I was awarded an Art and Australia / Credit Swiss Private Banking Contemporary Art Award, the article and images will be appearing in Art and Australia some time in the next twelve months. I also received an Artflight grant from the DCA to assist with my flight and freight costs for the Melbourne Art Fair, much appreciated.
Busy month again with two shows opening. 'Worth Its Weight In Gold', curated by Anna Louise Richardson at Moana Project Space opened on May 23. Check out the website for all the details of this fantastic project worthitsweightingold.net. 'Tropaeum' opens on May 30 at the Fremantle Arts Centre, curated by myself and Andrew Purvis. Other than that I am flat out in the studio producing work for 'The List' at Campbelltown Arts Centre in August.
My brother and I have returned from a two week residency at Campbelltown Arts Centre, we had a very productive time undertaking workshops with a group of Samoan teenagers at Eagle Vale Highschool. A huge thanks to Megan Monte, Michael D'agastino and Abdul Abdullah for allowing me to be a part of this project. We will be using the engagement to become the basis of new works that we will be developing for 'The List', opening at Campbelltown Arts Centre on August 8, 2014.
'Dear William' is currently up along William Street, Northbridge. Thanks to Andrew Nicholls at FORM for including me in the project. I'm now back in the studio working on my next piece for the Melbourne Art Fair.
It's been a busy start to the year and I've been buried in the studio again. I just returned from Melbourne where I took part in the three day intensive run by Next Wave for the Jump mentorship program. A great bit of news came through while I was away, somehow I was listed by Blouin Art Info as one of twelve Australian artists to buy in 2014! I was pretty blown away by this, everybody else on the list is a big star. Big thanks to Nicholas Forrest for that one, here is the link..
I've had a bit more good news over the last week, next year is looking really busy. I received a JUMP Mentorship grant from the Australia Council, I'll be undertaking a mentorship with Alex Seton as part of the Campbelltown Arts Centre residency with my brother Abdul Abdullah next year. I also received the Sainsbury Sculpture grant through NAVA in support of the same project. I managed to win my first public art commission for the Rosewood Care Group in Leederville through Artsource, big thanks to Tabitha Minns and I look forward to creating something awesome over the next year or so.
I'm very happy to say that I am the West Australian recipient of the Qantas Encouragement of Australian Contemporary Art Award, I got to attend a lovely event at Artspace in Sydney with Ben Quilty giving the keynote address. Thank you to Leigh Robb at PICA for nominating me!
Also, I'm very happy to announce that I'm now represented by Dianne Tanzer + Projects, Melbourne in addition to Venn Gallery, Perth. Thank you Dianne for putting a lot of faith into a very emerging artist, stay tuned for something special at the Melbourne Art Fair 2014 with Valerie Sparks.
I am happy to announce that Venn Gallery is now representing me in Western Australia, Thank you Desi, Bayoush, Kate and all the good folk of Venn.
My brother Abdul Abdullah and I have both been shortlisted as finalists in the 62nd Blake Prize, Sydney. I have two works from 'Maghrib' in the exhibition of finalists at COFA Galleries, Sydney.
I have also been shortlisted as a finalist in the Substation Prize For Contemporary Art, the exhibition will be held at The Substation, Melbourne.
'Riding Bicycles', a group show with myself, Ben Rodin and Mark Parfitt opens at Seventh Gallery on September 11, the show runs until September 28, 2013. If you're in Melbourne I hope you get the chance to take a look.
I'm very pleased to have been awarded the Artsource Emerging Artist Program grant, supported by the Constantine Family Foundation. I'll be developing a project titled 'The Accidental Traveller' over the next few months.
I've also relocated my studio to Fremantle where I'll be claiming some decent sized floorspace in a vacant Myers department store.
My brother Abdul Abdullah and I are now in Sydney, NSW taking part in the Lab residency on Cockatoo Island for the Underbelly Arts Festival 2013. So far we've been having an awesome time, it's a beautiful city and a great place to be as an artist. I will upload images of our installation, Project HOME in the coming weeks.
I'll be taking part in a group exhibition 'Islam Contemporary' at the Whitney Centre for the Arts, Pittsfield Massechusetts opening on August 2. This will be my first international exhibition, thanks to Aziz Sohail for making it all happen.
One month to go before my solo exhibition 'Maghrib' opens at Venn Gallery.
I'm very pleased that my brother and I have been awarded a DCA development grant to support Project HOME, taking place on Cockatoo Island NSW in July and August 2013.
I was very happy to receive the Artstart grant from the Australia Council!
My brother and I will be taking part in the Underbelly Arts Festival 2013 on Cockatoo Island, Sydney in July. We will be undertaking a two week residency before the festival, August 2 - 4.
My work exhibited in the Curtin graduation show 2012, 'Everything Is True' has been leased by the faculty of SODA (School of Art and Design) for a twelve month period.
I have relocated to a new studio in Bassendean where I'll be sharing the floorspace with my good friend Andrew Christie.
My next solo exhibition will be taking place at Venn Gallery, Perth opening on July 4, 2013. Titled 'Maghrib', the show will represent a new body of work exploring themes of childhood identity.
I am very pleased to have been successful in receiving a DCA development grant which will contribute greatly to my solo exhibition 'Maghrib' in 2013. Thank you DCA!
I've just finished my undergraduate studies at Curtin University, at this stage I don't plan to return to study for a very long time.
I will be showing a couple of works in a group show at Melody Smith Gallery opening on Friday November 23 at 6pm. Include in the show are works by Darryn Ansted, Nathan Beard, David Ledger, Martin Heine and Matthew Jackson.
I will be showing a selection of recent work at Linton and Kay Contemporary in Subiaco as part of a group exhibition titled 'Young Guns'. The show opens on February 25th at 6.30pm with an opening by Dr Stefano Carboni, director of AGWA. Other exhibitors include Abdul Abdullah, David Collins, Tessa McOnie, Matthew McVeigh, Yvonne Zago and Michael Peck.