I can't believe 2020 has come to an end, it's been an interesting ride. We've been so lucky here in Western Australia, one of the few places in the world that hasn't really felt the impact of Covid. I spent the month in the studio working on a big new piece for Diaspora Pavilion at Campbelltown Art Centre in May 2021. Preparations are well underway for my solo show Everything is true at John Curtin Gallery for Perth Festival 2021. A whole lot of work got picked up from my studio for the show and I'm enjoying the extra space. I'm feeling very grateful for the amazing support I'm getting leading up to this show from Chris Malcom and Lia McKnight at JCG, as well as the legendary Margaret Moore. The catalogue is looking beautiful! Peripheries finished at Yavuz Gallery in Sydney, the show got a great reception and I sold enough work to be happy. Big thanks to Sarah Hibbs for all her support. Althea had her first birthday on the sixteenth and we had the family down for a feast and celebration of all things Althea. We were all looking forward to seeing my brother Abdul Abdullah for Christmas, it's been such a long time, unfortunately he had to cancel his trip as the border was closed down again and he missed out by just a few hours. Otherwise Christmas was really nice and I managed to take a bit of a break from work before new years that we spent working in the garden while it got to 40 degrees. Every year the Perth summer takes me by surprise and I'm really not looking forward to the imminent fire season over the next couple of months. I feel like life is a long series of vignettes, the passage of time in little 3 hour blocks that leave only an imprinted memory of mood. I look back and feel that they were nearly all good. The year began with some real trauma that brought intense learning but overall 2020 was fulfilling and energetic and loving and productive. I'm surrounded by my beautiful family, I love the work I do and buy new Nikes whenever I want. Life is good. I've decided that 2021 is the year of radical optimism. x
November has strolled by and turned out to be the wettest November on record, it's raining even as I write this up. 2020 is a weird year. It's been another hectic month. I started off buried in grant assessments for a couple of different orgs, regional WA and national. It's always an interesting process and I really enjoy finding out what's happening in art around the country. I've started work on Throneroom, my next large scale work for Diaspora Pavilion 2 next year, now at Campbelltown Arts Centre in May 2021. It's going to be a challenging work to make. I was part of a panel for the Australian Academy of the Humanities alongside Shelagh Magadza, Alison Page, Michel Tuffrey and Lynette Wallworth which was a super interesting discussion to be a part of. My show Everything is true was finally announced as part of the Perth Festival 2021 program and we've been cooking up plans with the crew at John Curtin Gallery. The month ended on a high note when Peripheries opened at Yavuz Gallery in Sydney, my brother Abdul Abdullah and I presenting our first show together for a few years. Stay tuned for a reciprocal show at Moore Contemporary in Perth next year. My pigs also arrived in Melbourne enroute to their owner Janine Tai, but first they're making an appearance at West Space as a part of an awesome show Slime and Ashes, curated by Matthew Harris. Everything is steaming ahead at an alarming pace, the kids are happy and I'm a grateful dad.
October has just finished. As usual I was buried in the studio finishing new work for my show with my brother Abdul Abdullah at Yavuz Gallery at the end of November. Everything is finished and crated, ready to be picked up in a couple of days. I started the month doing a bunch of work with Marrugeku (pictured above), finalising the set for Jurrungu Ngan-ga. It was great to be back in touch with everyone, the set is looking amazing and we had some incredible zoom chats with Dylan Voller and Behrouz Boochani. I did a brief talk for a NAVA event online and attended a fundraising workshop for PICA. The month ended with the PICA Salon, it was a fantastic night and my gorgeous wife Anna Louise Richardson did an incredible job curating Refracted Realities for the salon. Everyone loved the show and had a great time. Now it's time to start a new large scale work called The Throne Room, I've been cooking this one up for years! x
September has come and gone. I've been in the studio making work for Peripheries with my brother Abdul Abdullah at Yavuz Gallery in November. I did an artist talk at John Curtin Gallery, and kept planning my big solo show for next year, cooking up things for the catalogue and scheming up a floorplan. I checked out Drew Pettifers incredible show at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery (pictured above) alongside HERE&NOW 2020. It was Anna's birthday on September 22, the first without her mum and we had a beautiful day walking up in Jarrahdale where we saw an Echidna, a bit of time in the studio and an excellent dinner at Dining Akashi, a legendary little Japanese restaurant. On the weekend we had lunch and dinner with Anna's family and I cooked my first fancy banana and chocolate ganache cheesecake. I am a fancy man! It's been raining a lot and the farm is looking happy. We're getting a whole lot of new paving done and it's looking fantastic. I'm a happy man!
August has been busy, I've been in the studio making work for Peripheries with my brother Abdul Abdullah at Yavuz Gallery in November. I'm happy with the progress and it should be a great show, although I don't think I'm going to be seeing it myself. I was on the selection panel for the Lester Prize in Perth with a great bunch of people - Alan Dodge, Gemma Weston, Laetitia Wilson and Rachael Ciesla, which was lot's of fun. I finalised some set design plans for Marrugeku and have been cooking up schemes for a big solo show in Perth next year, it's all still under wraps but I'm very excited about this one. I got some excellent news, I won the Australian Muslim Artist 2020 prize for my work Transplants (2019). $15k and the work now belongs to the LaTrobe Collection, who sponsor the prize. A big thank you to the judges! I did a coupe of radio interviews, one with RT and a more in-depth one with ABC Radio National which should be broadcast this week. 50Fifty:2020 opened to the public with my work 500 Books showing. It's a beautiful show and co-curators Chris Malcom and Lia McKnight have done an amazing job. Also, it was also my birthday on August 17, I turned 43 this year and I couldn't be happier, I had a beautiful day with Anna and the kids, a fancy lunch and some excellent presents including custom egg cups, a vase and Covid creature by Vipoo Srivilasa, a week later I had the whole family down for a big lunch feast a a game of croquet.The kids are happy, everything is green on the farm, Spring has arrived, life rolls on and I'm a happy man. x
July was a fairly quiet, industrious month working away in the studio finishing of a lovely sow and piglet commission for my good friend Janine Tai, mum of legendary 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art Director - Mikala Tai. I was very happy with how they turned out and they're now waiting in a crate to be sent to Melbourne once the lockdown eases. It's also been pretty quiet in the outside world, I did a little talk at Moore Contemporary and went along to the preview of 50 fifty at John Curtin Gallery, it was nice to see people in the real world for a change. I sent my work off to Australian Muslim Artists 2020, an art prize at the Islamic Museum of Australia in Melbourne, I'd really love to hear some good news from that. I've finally started a new series of work for Peripheries at Yavuz Gallery, Sydney at the end of November. I've been really looking forward to showing with my brother Abdul Abdullah again but with the way things have been looking it's unlikely that I'll be actually able to go for the install and opening, fingers crossed but who knows. Eid Mubarak for Friday just gone, the family is happy and the farm is looking winter green, life is good. x
Wow, it's half way through the year. I feel like we've found a great routine working, hanging out with the family and getting stuff done around the house. Going back to some kind of normal is going to be a bit of a disruption for lot's of people I think. Winter is in full swing and the fire is on all the time now and the farm is looking lush and green. I've been working on a commission for a good friend which has been lot's of fun. It's the first significant one I've really done and offers a good model for how I might do some more in the future. There's something very calming about working on something with a definite home in mind. I submitted a grant application to DLGSC right at the beginning of the month and got good news at the end of the month. My brother Abdul Abdullah and I are doing a project together called Peripheries, parallel exhibitions at our commercial galleries, Yavuz Gallery in Sydney at the end of 2020 and Moore Contemporary in Perth in 2021. I've been in discussions about projects coming up, a show early next year in Perth, Sydney in May and a Melbourne project in collaboration with Anna Louise Richardson in 2021. Schemes and plans are cooking away for the future and I'll post updates when I get confirmations. The Jurrungu Ngan-ga project for Marrugeku Dance Company has come back to life with new schedules and I've been finalising the design work to get ready for fabrication. I also did an illustration for an ongoing comic project called Pieces. It looked like a fun thing to do and there were some excellent artists involved so I dusted off the old illustrators hat for a few hours. The kids are still filling our lives with fun times and filling my boots with animal stickers, tax time has arrived and life is excellent! X
Eid Mubarak, Selamat Hari Raya! May just slid by in our little corner of the world, bringing winter with cold nights and rainy days. The farm has turned green again and the world is looking soggy and lush outside. We've had some good storms recently, which brought cosy nights with the kids with the fireplace blazing and the wind howling outside. Anna and I finished overhauling the studio, building new walls and storage, cleaning and sorting everything out with a few trips to the tip. We also helped out on the farm with some reseeding in the burned paddocks, and have been doing lot's of jobs around the house, fitting out our home gym and hanging out as a family. We finally got to see mum and dad again, they've been coming down a couple of times a week to spend Nenek and Papa time with the kids which has been great. Especially once Ramadan finished and mum has started bringing lunch again, I feel very spoiled! Eid was a very quiet time this year. I've just started a commission in the last few days, after a few weeks without a chisel in my hand it feels great to be carving again. There's been a few more interviews - Art Guide Australia, 4A - with Outset Arts and International Curators Forum (UK) and a little something for Museums & Galleries QLD. As a PICA board member, I've been helping with the recruitment process of a new Curator, it's been very interesting and I'm glad I could be useful, announcements will be made when decisions are finalised so stay tuned. I was very happy to receive a grant from the Australia Council for a big project with 4A, and I've been writing another grant to support some plans with my brother Abdul Abdullah, we're cooking up a project together in the next year or so. It's been very rewarding working out how to ride out this pandemic, I feel very optimistic for the future. Plans are in place for good things to happen and I know what I'm working on for the next 12 months at least, most likely more. It feels like the world is falling apart but our little corner hasn't changed much at all. Every day I'm grateful for that.
It has been really nice slipping into a routine at home and the studio. Anna and I are splitting our days in half between parenting and working in the studio, and we've been getting lot's of jobs around the house finished as well. There are always issues with adapting to new timeframes and while I'm not the most patient person, we've come through pretty good I think. I've been finishing off a work that I started last year and had some good press with interviews coming out online for Liminal and Asian Art Curator, and a kids activity package for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, and an interview underway with MCA. I've been posting a lot on Instagram which has been fun, putting up old studio images and sequences of works in progress with some great traction. We're now in the process of overhauling the studio, building a big dividing wall, sorting out storage, getting rid of junk and organising the spaces better. We've managed to build everything from materials left over from old projects, it's been great saving lots of money and reducing our excess stuff at the same time. The studio is going to look very sharp!
What a crazy month. On March 1 we flew from Adelaide to Sydney after going to the opening of Monster Theatres - Adelaide Biennial 2020, which was amazing. I loved my brother's work and legendary curator Leigh Robb absolutely killed it. We were in Sydney for five days for Anna's solo show at Galerie Pompom. It was an excellent opening with a few good sales and some follow up commissions for Anna to lean into in the next few months. In that time Covid-19 started to light up the news and since then it has overwhelmed everything. It was great to get home, back to the farm and prepare ourselves for the situation that we all find ourselves in now. The reality is that we are extremely lucky to be where we are on a farm outside of one of the world's most isolated, yet privileged cities. All of my projects have been postponed and I don't think I'll be selling any work for at least six months. We've reduced our costs down to the minimum, applied for Centrelink assistance, butchered three fat lambs for the freezers, stocked up on the necessities and have isolated ourselves with the kids and my trusty father-in-law Rupert on the farm. Without any sort of childcare we're working half days and co-parenting 50/50. I have enough materials to last for a while and once I adjusted to a slower pace it's been strangely relaxing, lot's of decisions have been taken off the table and I get to spend so much time with my gorgeous little family. We miss seeing the rest of our family and the kids will be bigger and bolder when they get to hug Nenek, Papa and the uncles, aunties and cousins again. But we Zoom, we facetime, we chat constantly and they're never far from our hearts. Seeing what's happening around the world makes me so grateful for the place I call home. We've got it so much easier than so many others and will emerge closer and more loving than ever. Stay safe in these strange times. x
February went by super quick. I spent most of my time in the studio carving a wing, writing up a couple of upcoming interviews, being a dad and generally getting stuff done. At the very end of the month we flew to Adelaide for our first trip as a family of four to go to the opening of Monster Theatres - Adelaide Biennial 2020, and see my brother Abdul Abdullah's incredible work. Mum and Dad also came along and it was great having their loving support and good company. It's a new kind of hectic travelling with two little ones, but life just gets more fun! x
Apologies for the late arrival, January 2020 has been hectic. I started off easing back into the studio after some serious newborn time and working out new routines to allow for two little people in our lives. The studio is set up with a toddler play zone now and I’ve had some successes in keeping Aziza occupied in there, definitely not every time though. The month was ticking along until January 9 when the farm was engulfed in a fast moving fire. It was baking hot and the wind was up, before I knew it I was in the ute with Rupert, my father-in-law and we drove through the front and started fighting it from behind. The kids evacuated and Anna stayed at the house enacting our fire plans while I experienced my first real fire. It started about 12km away and got to within 200m of the house and studio. We were lucky and no buildings, people or animals were harmed. I’m extremely grateful to all the neighbours, volunteers and emergency services who came, around 150 in all. We lost about 60% of the farm and continued putting out spot fires for a few weeks afterward. I hope this isn’t the new normal but I have a bad feeling this won’t be the last one. In the days that followed the matriarch of Anna’s family, my very smart and capable mother-in-law Megan Christie who has been resisting cancer since 2015 was hospitalised. Her siblings Marion and David (with partner Anne) arrived from Melbourne and the US and she passed away peacefully at Murdoch Hospital on Friday, January 31. After some rapid organisation and family teamwork we were given permission to bury her on the farm, forever a part of the land she loved. On Saturday February 8 we held a simple ceremony surrounded by loved ones, friends and family. Thank you Rupert, Julia, Josh, Helen, Maxine, Lyn, Ibrahim and my brother-in-law, the problem solver David Letizia. Megan was an incredible artist, craftsperson, teacher, farmer, mother, veterinarian and horse whisperer among so many other things, she welcomed me into the family like an old friend from the day we met, we blended seamlessly into each others lives and I’ll always be grateful for the time I knew her. X
It feels like I just wrote my last update but here we are again. December was everything good in life, a tiny bit stressful but full of love. Althea Winkie Nur Abdullah finally decided to arrive at 4.08am, Monday December 16 2019. She came in at a solid 3860g and 51cm top to toes. Anna powered through the labour like a legend and Aziza was extremely happy to finally be a big sister. Welcome to earth baby girl! I’d stopped working at the beginning of the month in anticipation of a December 9 due date, but it turns out we like them well done and she was comfy for an extra eight days. In the lead up we enjoyed Aziza’s last days as our only little one, going to the beach almost every day, hanging out, gardening, adventures to the zoo, walks on the farm and talking about her new little sister. The extra wait got a bit stressful but when she arrived it was quick and with style. We’re all totally in love all over again! It sounds super cheesy but with all the terrible events happening in Australia and around the world, I can only be optimistic about the future and feel extremely lucky and grateful that my life is full. X
November started off with the opening of Kaseh Ibu at Coolchange Contemporary. It was a great little show with some real highlights - my uncle Asri surprised mum by showing up from Malaysia with Aunty Farah and my cousin Arrifin. I was in on this surprise but my Aunty Terri surprised us all by sneaking into town for opening as well. It was quite the class reunion with lots of friends who I haven't seen for many years showing up. I've been busily trying to get the house ready for our new arrival who is due any day now, tomorrow is week 40 and life is going to get even more hectic in the best possible ways. What else... I got a grant from the DCA for a project at 4A with the legendary Mikala Tai next year, stay tuned for new work, a few great shows opened that I've got work in - us. (universal stories) at Lake Macquarie City Gallery, Talismans for an uncertain future at Bendigo Art Gallery and the next iteration of Concrete - art design architecture at Cairns Art Gallery. I was on a panel at the Art Gallery of WA talking about the future of the Art Museum and spoke my mind quite bluntly which was interesting. Now we're playing the waiting game, going to the beach and enjoying Aziza's final days of being an only child. I'm loving the dad life, the art life and the home life all at once!
I didn't have to fly anywhere this month! October started with me finishing off my work for the Joondalup Art Prize, which was won by Paul Kaptein with a very nice piece so now I have a surplus large snake up my sleeve which is nice. I wrote a grant application for a project next year, finalised a bunch of design work for Marrugeku dance company, hopefully we'll be seeing the results of my set design next year which will be exciting. Anna is in the final trimester, still working super hard with a bunch of curatorial projects on the go and a solo show early next year, as well as lot's of home reno jobs to do! We've been re-doing the laundry and entrance which will be loads better, lot's of fiddly painting, hanging doors etc, as well as a bunch of stuff in the garden, a few more chooks and new brick planter boxes built. Lot's of admin and finishing off works for Kaseh Ibu (Mother Love), a group show with the Abdullah family featuring Mum Maimunah Abdullah, both brothers Abdul Abdullah and Abdul-Karim Abdullah, myself and a written text by big sister Rabiah Letizia. I installed the show with Abdul-Karim last night and it's all ready to open on Friday November 1 at Coolchange Contemporary, a great artist-run-initiative in the city. I did have to get a tooth pulled out under general anaesthetic last week which wasn't the best fun but all for a good cause. Aziza is still extremely cute and life is treating me very well!
Spring has definitely arrived and everything has begun to dry out way too quick, the farm smells like flowers and the Magpie soap opera is in full swing. The month started off with me racing to finish work for the Joondalup Art Prize opening in October. Anna, Aziza and I flew to Sydney for a week for Spring 1883 and Sydney Contemporary, my brother Abdul Abdullah also had a solo show for the opening of Yavuz Gallery in Sydney. The art fairs were loads of fun and we caught up with heaps of people, my gallerist Margaret Moore at Moore Contemporary is a complete legend and sold all my work in the first 20 minutes. My brothers opening was completely packed and he was getting a lot of love from everywhere! Mum, dad and big sister Rabiah also came to town for the festivities. On Friday 13, while we were in Sydney my Grandma Gladys Emerson passed away and it was nice to spend some time with almost the whole immediate family, everyone except my big brother Abdul-Karim. I flew to Melbourne for a day after Sydney and delivered a keynote with my brother Abdul Abdullah before flying back to Perth with a very snotty/coughy cold. I worked on some funding applicatrions for an exciting project with Mikala Tai happening next year and then flew back to Sydney for Grandma's funeral and to catch up with the family in Kiama. It was a really lovely few days and the first time in many years that we were all together, Grandma would've loved it. Now I'm back in the studio racing to finish work for our family show at Coolchange Contemporary at the end of the month and writing more apps. x
Another month seems to have slid by and it doesn't feel like I'm getting much done but when I look back it seems like I squeezed a lot out of four and a half weeks. I finished off a commission for Helen Carroll at Wesfarmers and delivered it, I'll post pics once I have some good install ones. I fixed a slightly damaged work and have it ready to deliver back to it's owner. I crated and delivered my works for Spring 1883 at the Establishment Hotel in September. I'm looking forward to that trip, hopefully I can make some good sales. Anna and I went to Darwin for four days to volunteer with the Arnhem, Northern & Kimberley Aboriginal Artists Corporation at the Darwin Art Fair. It was my first trip to Darwin and we had a great time meeting heaps of Art Centre people, artists and loads of art people from all round Australia who head up for the fair, shout out to Mikala Tai and Leuli Eshraghi, pictured up top along with my lovely wife Anna Louise Richardson and our fellow volunteer Kate Mullen. I definitely want to go again and maybe spend a little more time in the top end. I did a bunch of illustrations for a new client and finally started a new work for the Joondalup Art Prize in October. In the meantime we got four new chickens, a bunch of Silkies called Ayam, Hei Hei, Murghi and Kip. I got some pieces made by the Mandurah Woodturners which will be a part of new work coming up next, they did a fantastic job! I also put in a couple of EOI's for public art projects, I've started putting my hand up again and I came up with some ideas for another commission. Also, I turned 42 on the 17th and had an awesome day taking Aziza to the zoo for the first time ever and then eating a delicious seafood platter in Fremantle! x
It feels like July slipped by without getting much done in the studio. I got a bit buried for the last few weeks in admin stuff, lot's of paperwork, getting stuff done at home in the garden and on the farm. We had a new fence put in around the house, a good 300m of goat proofing, a bunch of new gates, a chicken coop and some raised vege planters. I was asked to say a few words at AGWA for Director Stefano Carboni's leaving event. It was a really heartfelt evening and he will be missed by a lot of people in his role at the state gallery. I have a huge amount of respect for him and he's been instrumental in my career. PICA held their 30th anniversary Gala which was good fun, lot's of great people to catch up with. I've been a bit slow in the studio working on a commission and putting together some ideas for more commissions. x
I sailed into July and forgot about the June update. I started the month by heading over to Sydney for some meetings and catching up with my bro and hung out with Danie Mellor, he's a very good egg. Back at home Anna was travelling a lot for a couple of weeks so I juggled time with Aziza, the studio and the mountains of admin that artists need to do. I finally installed a small commission Sang Kancil at UWA in the sunken gardens. I'm very happy with my little addition to that beautiful space. In the studio I'd been making a new work for the Joondalup Art Prize for a couple of weeks before realising that I'm never going to make the awkwardly tiny weight limit they've specified so I have to do something else dammit. Not to worry, the work will get finished. I've started another commission for Wesfarmers and trying to squeeze in studio time around another large chunk of admin that's been filling up my days. It's all good stuff and interesting but really time consuming, just part of the job. Other than that it's been all about getting my tax figures sorted out like a boring old man. Here is a picture of Aziza helping me pull out the old garden fence in the rain.
Right at the beginning of May Anna headed off to the Venice Biennial for the Emerging Arts Professionals program run by the Australia Council with the Australian pavillion. She was away for two weeks while Aziza and I spent a lot of time hanging out and getting regular updates. In the middle of it I flew over to Sydney for the opening of the Wynne, Archibald and Sulman Prizes, to hang out with my brother and catch up with a heap of Sydney folk. This year I was in the Wynne, my brother was in the Wynne and the Sulman and my niece Sophia Letizia was in the Young Archies for the under 18 category, it was a full family affair. With Amrita Hepi in The National at AGNSW we have 4 members of the family in the building at the moment, haha! The legendary Sylvia Ken took out the Wynne which was was deserved. Back home I've been working on a little ghost in the studio, I'm happy with the progress, otherwise it's been lot's of admin, working out some things for Marrugeku, planning a work for the Joondalup Art Prize, buying shoes, cooking curry and looking into a couple of commissions. Anna will be travelling a lot in the next few weeks with a statewide (WA is a really, really big state) curatorial project The Alternative Archive so I'll be squeezing work in around Aziza time and having as much fun as I can!
April brought me back to the studio where I started a couple of new works for Moore Contemporary later this year. It's been a bit of a juggle with Anna and I both travelling a lot and hand balling baby duties between us. Anna has been in Sydney, I was in Broome, now Anna is in Venice and I'll be back in Sydney and on it goes. I went to Broome for five days for the final stages of the first development with Marrugeku dance company of jurrungu ngan, an upcoming production that I'll be designing the set for. It was super interesting to see how collaborative the creative process is in dance and the project is going to be hard hitting and very rewarding to be a part of. I loved spending time with Rachael Swaine, the Marrugeku team and all the amazing dancers (pictured above - Benjhi, Eric, Issa, Ses, Yilin, Zach, Dalia, Mirri, EJB and their Silat teacher Datuk Ahmad)). Broome is a very interesting and super humid place to visit. The month ended with some excellent news when I was shortlisted in the Wynne Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales alongside my brother Abdul Abdullah in the Wynne and Sulman Prizes, and my niece Sophia Letizia in the Young Archies. With Amrita Hepi showing at The National, we have four members of the family currently showing work at AGNSW!
At the beginning of March we were still in Adelaide having breakfast with the legendary Hossein and Angela Valamanesh while Aziza ran around. We checked out a bunch of shows and ran into lot's of excellent people like Eugenia Lim and Mikala Tai. I started a new work in the studio and spent a couple of weeks doing admin, meetings etc until everything came to a stop on March 15 with the horrendous events in Christchurch. It's not something that I want to dwell on here but it will stay with me forever. I flew to Sydney on Mach 18 to install my work at MCA for The National 2019. Anna flew down to Castlemaine with Aziza to install Dead Things for the Castlemaine State Festival. The install crew at MCA were amazing, big thanks to Mitch and Mark and thanks to MCA for putting me in the super fancy QT Hotel. I flew down to Melbourne on the 20th and joined Anna in Castlemaine for the festival opening. Thanks to Kent Wilson and Robbie Dixon for their help, and a way bigger thanks to my beautiful wife Anna for doing the show with me and getting everything sorted, looked fantastic. After the opening events we drove through Shepparton, checked out the Shepparton Art Museum and stayed in Albury. We checked out the Murray Art Museum Albury and drove to Canberra to stay where we had a look at the NGA and had dinner with James Tylor and Bec Selleck. After that we drove to Goulburn to visit Gina Mobayed at the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery and stayed with Juz Kitson at her awesome house in Milton on the South coast. The next day we drove up to Sydney via Kiama to visit Grandma, it was a fun few days of road trip and back to Sydney for the opening of The National.Mum, dad, my sister Rabiah and niece Sophia came over to Sydney, I was on a panel with James Nguyen and Teo Treloar and then went to the main opening at Art Gallery of New South Wales. AGNSW, Carriageworks and MCA were all amazing, I'm so impressed with the curators for The National Isobel Parker-Phillips and Daniel Mudie Cunningham, and especially Anna Davis and Clothilde Bullen at the MCA, they were all amazing. I got loads of great feedback and flew home on theSunday night. Two weeks away and I'm back to reality!
February started with finishing off work for Dead Things with Anna in Castlemaine. Finishing work, building crates and freighting it. Perth International Arts Festival opened and we had events and opening for ten nights straight which was super fun and kind of exhausting. Lot's of great shows in town - Ramesh Nithyenrdan and David Noonan at FAC, Desert River Sea at AGWA, Cassils and Marco Fusinato at PICA, as well as amazing shows at Lawrence Wilson Gallery and John Curtin Gallery. A highlight was Le Nor (the rain) by The Last Great Hunt in the PICA performance space. In the middle of it all Aziza had her first birthday party, we celebrated with a big family feast. After the PIAF events we de-installed The Dogs at Moore Contemporary and packed them ready for their new home. At the end of the month RITUAL opened, curated by Ted Snell at There Is Studio in Northbridge, Anna and I are both in the show alongside a bunch of Perth's finest. It was an excellent turnout and great to catch up with a lot of people, including my brother Abdul Abdullah who was in town briefly. The last week was occupied by flying to Melbourne for a couple of days to go to the wedding of Valerie Sparks and her partner Roger, we also caught up with lot's of good folk while we were in town. Home for a couple of days and then we flew to Adelaide for the opening of CONCRETE: art design architecture, curated by Margaret Hancock-Davies and Brian Parkes at Jamfactory. It was excellent to catch up with Adelaide folk and hang out with Megan Cope and Elvis Richardson who were also in the show. We went to the big Ben Quilty opening at AGSA and I gave a couple of talks at Adelaide Central School of Art (thanks Andrew Purvis) and Jamfactory.
The first month of 2019 has flown by. I haven't had too much admin stuff to do for a change and I've been in the studio finishing off the last two editions of In the name from 2015 for some shows this year. It was nice to revisit the work, splash some silicone around while it hit 40 degrees and finally kill off the mould. Hopefully they end up well placed. I also made a work based on Ned Kelly's death mask and started my last work for Dead Things in Castlemaine. I had a bunch of articles and other media come out every weekend of January much to my dad's delight, although they kept using a picture of my head rather than any work. I've had a frustratingly sore back for the past few weeks which has required some management, nothing serious just annoying. Anna finally got to announce that her selection by the Australia Council to attend the Venice Biennale with the emerging arts professional development program in the Australian Pavilion. That's going to be super exciting. Aziza has started to walk and now she's an unstoppable bidepal force. We took her to her first Invasion Day Rally where she did her fair share of shouting and then went to sleep. x
December was a whole bunch of smaller projects getting finished off or started. I took Aziza to see Justin Shoulder give a talk at PICA but she was a bit too loud for the quiet room. I presented a public art proposal and once again didn't get the job, that's eight in a row here in Perth that I've been shortlisted and missed out on, I think I'll give it a break, it get's a bit disheartening trying to convince developers of my work, they're only interested in big abstract stuff. I've been working on a shortlisted project for Sydney that I have high hopes for, it's submitted now and my fingers are crossed. I had a bit of a debacle around my Instagram account getting hacked but I got it back after a few days and a few headaches, please use the 2 factor authentication if you can! I've been working on some new works for Dead Things, my first show with Anna for the Castlemaine State Festival in March next year. I think it's going to be an awesome show, Anna's new works are looking fantastic. We had a roast duck feast with the ex-Perth now Sydney crew Clothilde Bullen, Jeff Khan, my bro and Amrita and a bunch of other excellent folk like Giovanni and Melissa Di Dio, Jade Balfour and Mike Jelinek, Eva Fernandez and Mark Stewart. Christmas brings people sneaking back into Perth. We had a very fun Christmas with all the family, spent New Years with Andrew Christie and Tarryn Gill and now I'm back in the studio making some editions for Dead Things and starting some new works. 2018 was the best year of my life, I'm absolutely loving the life I lead and looking forward to even more exciting things in 2019! x
I'm swanning in a little late this month, apologies. I finished my work for The National 2019, made over 2000 raindrops with crystals (this will become clearer once I can put up images), made two giant crates (pictured) and had it all picked up by the good people at IAS. 5 Months of work in a couple of boxes. A bunch of stuff happened this month, Leigh Robb and Andrew Purvis came back to Perth for their wedding, it was an excellent bunch of people and loads of fun, I wish them a long and happy marriage! My work is in a few shows that opened - Animaze curated by Dr Ric Spencer at Fremantle Arts Centre, Safe Space Curated by Christine Morrow at Logan Art Gallery (QLD), Lucky Charm curated by Joanna Bosse and Vipoo Srivilasa at Bayside Arts & Culture (VIC) and finally The Dogs, a solo presentation of my 2017 installation at Moore Contemporary. It's been a great month for getting some glory and I've been very happy with all the shows. A nice article about me came out in Fabric Quarterly written by Perth starchitect David Weir. I've been working on two public art proposals that I've been shortlisted for, this time I'm feeling pretty good about them and have been doing a lot of work, fingers crossed. I attended an event for Australia Council Leadership Program that was very interesting and finally went to Sydney for a few days, Anna had some work to do and I went to meetings with Aziza, caught up with my bro and excellent folk like Mikala Tai and Alex Seton, and visited White Rabbit, MCA and Carriageworks. Primavera was the best yet and Nick Cave at Carriageworks was overwhelmingly great. I'm feeling very positive about good things happening next year, lot's of plans ticking over! x
Spring has definitely arrived on the farm and everything is looking very lush. This epic lawn of ours is looking fairly happy at the moment, this is my commute to work every day so I can't complain. This month has been heads down in the studio finishing the main part of my work for The National 2019 - New Australian Art at MCA in Sydney next year. They've set a tight deadline for catalogue images and I've been determined to get a good photograph for it, I don't want to miss out on being well represented in the big hard cover catalogue they'll produce. Lot's of the usual admin stuff with chasing invoices, a PICA board meeting, freight stuff and submitting a couple more EOI's for public art projects. Mostly it's been carving and painting in the studio and hanging put with the family. Anna and I delivered a professional development presentation for secondary teachers down at Bunbury Regional Art Gallery and we both delivered our work to Fremantle Arts Centre for the opening of Animaze in a couple of weeks. This work for MCA has been a long journey and I can't wait to see the final install next year!
The month began with lots of running around as usual, getting stuff organised for the Biennale of Australian Art in Ballarat. I hosted a panel at PICA with Aaqil Sumito and Marziya Muhammedali for the Perth Centre for Stories talking about Muslim experiences with gender and non binary identities which was super interesting. I was on a bit of a studio mission to get as much work done as possible before Anna, Aziza and I had to fly to Ballarat. I attended the WA Cultural Strategy launch at the Chamber of Arts & Culture, went to an AGWA fundraising event and did another session with the City of Perth for the East End Revitalisation project. It feels like I've been a bit of a bureaucrat lately! A bit of grant writing and the usual admin stuff. In mid September we flew to Melbourne and jumped in a very nice hire car with the family and drove out to Ballarat. The AirBnb was very nice and Ballarat is a great looking town. Anna's work went up easily enough and looked fantastic while mine ended up going up a few days after we left which was a bit of a shame. We hung out with Nathan Beard, Amy Joy Watson and Andy, Tanya Shultz (Pip & Pop) and her partner Chad while we were in town and it ended up being a lovely, kinda cold family holiday with lot's of country drives. Anna's birthday was on the 22nd and we checked out all the shows and hung out with Nathan a bit more. Nathan's work was fantastic, he's an amazing artist and all round beautiful human. My brother Abdul Abdullah's work also looked fantastic, he's had the most amazing month with a huge reception of his work at Sydney Contemporary and a massive solo show in Singapore at Yavuz Gallery. He's over the moon right now and well deserved! On the way back we went through Castlemaine to meet with LaTrobe Art Institute curator Kent Wilson about a collaborative project with Anna and I next year and had lunch with some friends Sally and Richard before flying home in the evening. This last week I've been back in the studio finishing off some stuff for Safe Spaces, curated by Christine Morrow and opening at Logan Gallery in Queensland before touring. I've been chatting a lot to my brother and my family, hanging out with Anna and Aziza, working hard in the studio and enjoying Spring time on the farm with loads of flowers and greenery out in force. I'm a really crap football fan and although I support the Eagles I don't watch them play unless they make the Grand Final. Luckily they do that more than most and this time they won an epic encounter against the Magpies. X
It has been raining all month which is very exciting, the farm is very green and soggy. Khaled Sabsabi was in town at the beginning of August to oversee the install of his amazing show A self portrait at PICA. It was a fantastic opening alongside Amalia Pica, a fantastic artist from Argentina. I had the Collectors Club down to visit the studio and hang out for a bit while Anna and I talked about our work, hopefully we planted good seeds for future harvest. I went to Canberra in the middle of the month to participate in the NAVA Future/Forward code of practice conference. My brother gave a presentation and it was great to catch up and hang out with him, Khaled Sabsabi, Richard Bell and Peter White, as well as a whole bunch of fellow art nerds. The National 2019 - New Australian Art has finally been announced and I can officially tell people about my project at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney next March. I'm buried in the studio working on this and will be for a few more months. Stay tuned for the biggest work I've ever done. My birthday came and went with lot's of love and a few presents. The month ended on my first Father's Day spent with my loves, Anna and the bean. x
July came and went super fast. Let's see... I've been in the studio banging away on a killer new project for early next year, the biggest show that I've been a part of. I got some funding from the DLGSC which I'm very grateful for and have some other applications still waiting. I got a travel subsidy to fly to Canberra in August for the NAVA Future Forward summit which should be interesting. I've been taking Aziza to swimming lessons every Saturday which has been very cute. I bought a car from my lovely father-in-law Rupert, my first four wheel drive ute which I'm very excited about. The same week my iMac died so it turned into an expensive few days. My mother-in-law Megan got a couple of Lamas to join the little menagerie we have here besides all the cows. Thelma and Louise (pictured) are both looking very absorbent in all this rain we've been having. The last week of July I spent in Hobart for the ongoing project at Glenorchy Art & Sculpture Park with my brother, Sinsa Mansell, Julie Gough, Jonathon Kimberley, Kade McDonald and Jim Everett. Ishmael Marika and Wukun Wanambi joined us all the way from Arnhem Land this time as well which was really great. We spent some time freezing on country in Larrapunna and I managed to get sick for one of the days which was no fun. Back home I went to my first meeting for the City of Perth East End Revitalisation Working Group that I'm a part of, caught up with Khaled Sabsabi who is in town for a big show and went to another PICA board meeting. Admin, studio, chopping firewood, more admin, studio, sitting on aeroplanes, playing with Aziza and loving my gorgeous wife Anna.. all the usual stuff that fills my days. x
June started off with the opening of Dark Horizons at Te Uru, Waitakere Contemporary Gallery in Auckland. The install looked great and it was lovely being hosted in Titirangi by Andrew and Ioana, hopefully lot's of people come and see the show. It was nice to come home knowing that I didn't need to fly again until late July. Back in the studio I've been finishing off some concrete editions for the show at Jamfactory, I carved and painted some wooden works for a show at Fremantle Art Centre in November and a project in Castlemaine next year. Art wise everything is swimming along very nicely although I've managed to get overlooked for every public art project that I've put in for and now the last one outstanding has been canned completely. The world is telling me that I shouldn't be chasing these commissions but I could sure do with the money. Speaking of which I also got knocked back for a big grant for the most ambitious project of my career so far, booooooo! This was a rather large hurdle and rocked my confidence quite a bit but I've swung into action and planted as many funding seeds as I could so hopefully the project will be back on track. It doesn't feel great to hit bumps along the way when I've had such a great track record for funding but that's the industry I suppose. I'm going to get the project done like I need it to be no matter what. I'm feeling good about it again and I really believe in the idea. The farm has become completely green again for winter and the rain has been coming down in buckets. Wild goats have been visiting and Aziza is still the cutest bean ever! X
The month started with another trip to Sydney for the opening of Khalas - Enough! curated by Phillip George and Nur Shkembi at UNSW Galleries. It was a huge, institutional show with about eighteen Muslim artists alongside a Christian Thompson survey. I was part of a panel with Christian Thompson, Hetti Perkins, Nur Shkembi, Eugenia Flynn and Hoda Afshar, as well as lot's of media including a spot on SBS news and an ABC radio interview. It's always great catching up with Sydney folk and the rest of eleven. While I was in town I had some meetings and did a podcast with Esther Anatolitis at NAVA. Back home I got stuck into lot's of admin, grant acquittals, and proposals blah blah blah. I moulded a work for a show at Jam Factory in Adelaide next year ready for some concrete casting. Directors Cut opened at John Curtin Gallery and I facilitated a panel at PICA for the Hatched public programs. Back at the studio I've started planning for a show in Castlemaine with Anna next year. Right now I'm in Auckland where I just finished installing The Dogs as part of Dark Horizons with Khaled Sabsabi, Abdul Abdullah and myself at Te Uru, Waitakere Contemporary Gallery in Titirangi. I did another radio interview today and hopefully we get to see some galleries tomorrow. Khaled and my bro get in tonight, it's going to be good to catch up. Also, Anna and I are completely overwhelmed with love for our little cupcake Aziza.
April flew by like every other month, let's see... I presented a public art proposal which would be interesting to get but we'll see. I've started working on a new work for a project with Jamfactory in Adelaide next year, going back to portraiture which has been fun. Submitted that big old grant application and headed off with Anna and little Aziza for a bit of a trip to Sydney for meetings, an exciting project in Hobart with Glenorchy Art & Sculpture Park and hanging out in Adelaide. Aziza was an excellent flyer on her first five plane rides, just drank and slept like a little champion. We checked out the Sydney Biennale and a bunch of other galleries, MONA and the Adelaide Biennial, caught up with heaps of excellent people and introduced our little bean to everyone. Back in Perth I'm back in the studio and working my way through a pile of writing, acquittals and proposals for a few more weeks.
The month started with a bang heading over to Adelaide for the opening of Waqt al-Tagheer: time of change with eleven collective at ACE Open. The show opened alongside the Adelaide Biennial as part of the Adelaide Festival and was very well received. Opening night and the following days public programs were full, I got to catch up with heaps of people and we ended up with lot's of positive media (check media page). Overall it was a hit, big thanks to my co-curator Nur Shkembi and the crew at ACE Open, especially Liz Nowell and Toby Chapman. Back home the announcement of the Australian representative for the Venice Biennale finally happened, huge congratulations to Angela Mesiti and Juliana Engberg, I could finally tell the world that my brother Abdul Abdullah, myself and curators Michael Dagostino and Mikala Tai were one the five shortlisted artist groups out of a pool of 75 submissions. The other groups were - Richard Bell, with curator Clothilde Bullen, Mikala Dwyer and Justene Williams, with curators Susan Best and Ann Stephen Joyce Hinterding and David Haines, with curator Anna Davis. Being shortlisted was a huge achievement in itself for me and it would have been a massive undertaking if we'd been chosen. Not to worry, we'll be back for the next one. I've been spending lot's of time with baby Aziza basking in her big eyes. She's growing plump, happy, healthy and super cute. Anna was back in the studio a week after giving birth and it's been a really beautiful time with our new little gang of three. I finished of a series of works for The 1818 Project at Newcastle Art Gallery later this year, crated and waiting. I packed works for Khalas - enough! at UNSW Galleries in May, The Trace curated by Antidote went up and down again at Wellington Street Projects, Sydney, I sent work off with Anna for Couplings opening at Dominik Mersch Gallery next month and Another day in paradise opened at it's first stop on it's tour. Lot's of shows going up and down. I've also been buried in a public art proposal that would be super interesting if I got it. I've also been writing the biggest grant I've chased for a very exciting project next year. It's been kinda busy but so much fun! x
February was possibly the most exciting month of my life! We finally met Aziza Nancy Kate Abdullah, delivered at Saint John of God Hospital, Mount Lawley on February 9 2018 at 6.03pm. She came yelling into the world weighing a plump 3920grams and has been enchanting us ever since. My schedule has been somewhat imploded by this little bundle and I'm loving (almost) every minute! Work wise there's been a few things - Waqt al-tagheer: time of change is fully installed at ACE Open and I'm heading to Adelaide tomorrow for the opening alongside the Adelaide Biennial. ACE Open curator Toby Chapman is an absolute gem of a human being to work with, Nur Shkembi and I are very appreciative of his efforts. The show looks amazing and we've got loads of positive media so far. I've managed to get a bit done in the studio around the little gremlin and received good news that I can't reveal yet. I've been shortlisted for a couple of interesting public art jobs, hopefully I can get these over the line. This year is going to be hectic in all the best ways! x
It's been a very mild start to the year, kind of a cool Summer by Perth standards. For me it's been a month of writing proposals for a couple of public art projects and shows that I hope come to fruition. I finished off my first little commission Little black dog, it was fun working on an animal again after so much drapery. I make a quick visit o Sydney for some meetings and got to see Lisa Reihana's incredible show at Campbelltown Art Centre, In pursuit of Venus - infected is possibly the greatest work I've ever seen in real life. I dropped by Adelaide on the way home to touch up my work for Waqt al-Tagheer - times of change opening at ACE Open next month. There's been a lot of back and forth about installing the show and so far it looks incredible, (see Khadim Ali's work going up in the picture above). I'm really excited about the show and I think it shows off eleven collective perfectly! I started another work in the studio and placed a couple of works with Margaret at Moore Contemporary. Dad has been making his presence felt bringing his students into the gallery regularly and spruiking my work. It must have worked because Margaret has already made a sale. I've been a bit more chilled out too, spending lot's of time with Anna waiting for our little delivery to arrive. We're well and truly ready to meet her now, everything is in order, the baby room is looking great and she just needs to arrive in our arms. Life is peachy! x
I'm a little bit late with this one, 2018 is upon us and the year is getting eaten already. Let's see.. December. I finished off my work for ACE Open next March and sent it off to Guests Fine Art Services for the final silver leafing. I was still moving very slowly after having a bit of surgery but it's all for the best. I finished of a public art proposal, presented it and didn't get it once again, maybe my hearts not in it, there are much more exciting things to think about but I do need to nail down some income soon. I ducked over to Sydney for some meetings and started a small commission. It's the first private commission that I've done and it's good fun sculpting an animal again after a few months of fabric. Anna's pregnancy is coming along very nicely, no problems so far and the house is all prepped to receive a brand new human. We did a bit more home stuff like a new front door and cabinet in the dining room. I love our little farm house full of art and wooden stuff. I crated up my work for ACE and sent it on the truck, I'll see it again in March, I really like this one although it's a bit of a departure for me. I've had some great chats with Margaret Moore and we're cooking up some plans with her gallery. Christmas was great fun with the family and a few other Christmas/New Years dinner stuff is always a good way to end the year. Hopefully I have a few bit's of very exciting news for 2018! x
November is always a bit of a killer month for events and this year was no exception. I started the month slogging away in the studio finishing my work for Adelaide next March. Lot's of openings including a very cool show at Parliament House with the legendary Dianne Jones, John Stringer Prize at the Kerry Stokes Collection and I don't want to be there when it happens, curated by Eugenio Viola, Mikala Tai and Kate Warren. On the first Saturday I delivered my TED talk at the Perth Concert Hall, it was huge audience of almost 2000 people and I had a great time telling them a story about Trevor, haha. I won a commendation award ($1000) at the Churchie Emerging Art Prize which was very nice. I helped with preg testing the cows and smashed out a Venice EOI with my brother and gun curators Mikala Tai and Michael D'Agostino. We have virtually no chance but we're definitely going to give it a go! I had my first board meeting with PICA as it's newest member and on November 15 flew to Sydney for some meetings and drove up to Newcastle the next day for some more meetings. I spent almost 8 hours driving and another 5 flying to get home that night, but it was all good fun and super productive, I met some awesome artists Shan Turner-Carroll and Fernando Do Campo. Margaret Moore's new space, Moore Contemporary opened which I'm very excited about and then I flew to Adelaide for Tarryn Gills opening Dearly Beloved at Hugo Michells. I spent all of Friday in meetings with ACE Open, covering lot's of ground and eating well. Liz, Toby, Vivian, Stephanie and Nur are a fantastic bunch of human beings to work with. Anna arrived in the evening and the next day we checked out Tarnanthi at AGSA and went to Leigh Robb and Andrew Purvis' engagement party. It was a really lovely weekend in Adelaide, we caught up with heaps of people and were back home on Sunday night. I went in the next day for a tiny bit of surgery and now I'm laid up feeling sorry for myself hobbling around the house. On Tuesday Nov 28 You see monsters aired on ABC, it was a great doco that I made an appearance in, my bro was the star of the show! I need to get back to work but right now I have to rest up, tomorrow maybe. There's so much to do. x
Spring has definitely arrived, the sun is out and I can hear the grass growing. October was the first month this year that I didn't have to fly somewhere which was a nice change. Let's see.. I've been ticking over a bit slower in the studio working on a piece for Waqt al-tagheer, the next show with eleven collective at ACE Open in Adelaide next year. I'm also co-curating the project with Nur Shkembi and the admin side of it has been taking up a fair bit of my time. I presented a public art project that I was shortlisted for and was unfortunately knocked back, I was just notified today of another one that I've been shortlisted for so the game goes on. A couple of bits of good news came in, I received a grant from the newly renamed Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries. It's a bit of a mouthful but I'm very grateful for their ongoing support! I also won the Mayors Award at the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize currently on show in Sydney. It was a minor prize but again I'm very grateful for the support and hopefully I'm in the running for the peoples choice. Anna has been doing lot's of DIY jobs around the house, the nesting process is well under way for welcoming our baby into the world. We did some very cool renovations and I installed some awesome new windows with a fancy ImagInk print. The house is looking very cool! Dad celebrated his 70th birthday at our house with a bunch of my cousins and aunty Terri in town from the east coast which was all very lovely. Lot's of boring stuff, organising freight and rehearsing my TED talk coming up. I finished the month with one of my works Big Moon (2015) being installed at the Art Gallery of Western Australia's new show show in the WA Unlimited program, thanks Mr Robert Cook!
I'm back at the farm and everything is looking beautiful right now, super green and the flowers are popping out everywhere. I had to include a picture of my awesome little buddy Trevor the goat enjoying the sunshine. I've been buried again putting together a proposal for another public art job, writing a grant and finalising the contents of a TED talk that I'm delivering in November. My best mate Andrew Christie opened his show Everybody clapping on the one and the three at Paper Mountain ARI here in Perth. He included a couple of my works in a collaborative installation and the opening was heaps of fun, lot's of people and interest in the show. Other artists were Clare Peak, Loren Kronemyer, Rose Megirian and Andrew Christie. Anna and I have been rearranging the house, fiddling with the garden and making plans for our new little human coming into our lives next year. All the scans are spot on and Anna's pregnancy has been awesome so far, I'm super proud of how easily she adapts to everything. I'm a very lucky man! On September 19 I flew over to Sydney for a panel talk at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, and for the openings of We are all affected with eleven collective at Fairfield Museum & Gallery and Peacock Gallery, Auburn as part of the Big Anxiety Festival 2017. It was great to catch up with everyone again and the show looked awesome. I took part in a couple more interesting panel discussions and ate way too much fantastic food out in Western Sydney. Anna had her birthday while were in town and we spent the day looking at galleries, going for high tea, a couple of openings and studio visits and fancy Japanese for dinner. Back home I dived back into organising the next eleven collective show in Adelaide next year, getting back into the studio, invoices, emails and all the hustles that an artist has to do constantly. I can't believe how fast the year is moving but I feel like it's all forward in the best possible ways. I'm really looking forward to becoming a dad and working out how to keep everything going all the time. Optimistic always! X
August began with a big downpour which seemed to last for weeks. The farm has become a bit of a wet wonder land and everything is overflowing with green and waterways. I finished everything for the Rosewood Public Art job, handed over the maintenance schedule and my final invoice after over four years on the project! I also finished the last of my dogs for New Zealand, built the crates and everything was picked up to be freighted over. It's a great feeling nailing down those two deadlines and I was able to take my foot off the accelerator for a week or so, catch up with people and relax a tiny bit leading up to my birthday. Good thing too as my right elbow has been giving me a lot of grief and I need to rest it for a few weeks. I finished off a small work for a fundraiser that Tony Albert is running and made plans for a new work to begin when I get back from New Zealand. On August 17 I turned 40 and made myself a birthday cake, Anna called me at 12:01 and gave me instructions from the US, haha. I had breakfast with my in-laws then spent the day cleaning the house and relaxed for a bit before having dinner with my folks. The next day I flew to Wellington to install Dark Horizons at Pataka Museum + Art. Wellington is a seriously beautiful city and I've never felt so welcomed and supported by everybody, especially Reuben Friend, the gallery director. I had the most amazing conversations with Khaled Sabsabi, he has such a huge depth of knowledge in art and life. My bro Abdul Abdullah joined us and we finished off the install. I'm super proud of the show! Mum, dad, my sister Rabiah and brother-in-law Dave, niece Sophia and nephew Caleb arrived, as well as Megan and Rupert my parents-in-law. Anna arrived on the Saturday and we all got to spend some time together before the opening on Sunday the 27th. Everything went as well as it possibly could, we got a super positive response and the show was really tight. Everyone left on the Monday and Anna and I got to spend a few days checking out Wellington, Porirua and some of the surrounding areas. The people we met were all super friendly and made us feel totally at home, the art community is so culturally connected and I really hope we can go back to New Zealand again soon! Also, I got into the Woolahra Small Sculpture Prize and Anna and I both got into the Churchie Emerging Art Prize.
The month began with me back in the studio as usual working on the last of the dogs for Dark Horizons at Pataka Museum+Art in New Zealand next month. Winter has definitely hit the farm and everything is very green and very wet. At the end of the first week I headed over to Sydney for a one day event with eleven collective at the Fairfield Showgrounds for the 2017 Eid Festival in Sydney. It was a super interesting trip, I met a lot of new people and built further relationships with the other members of the collective. I got some amazing news as well, I won the Pro Hart Outback Art Prize run by the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery in NSW for my work Footprint. Taking out a $15000 prize really saved me from the wolves and I'm very grateful in spite of all the online hate I got for my work. People were quite upset because they didn't realise that my work was carved, a few people were clearly objecting to my 'foreign' name as well, I guess there are people who I'd prefer didn't like my work. I've been finishing off the Community Engagement part of the Rosewood Public Art project, I'm super close now after all these years. Anna's show I Was Here opened alongside Ian Strange at Fremantle Art Centre. It was a great show with an excellent response and we had a fun weekend hosting Alex Seton, Wanda Gillespie and Tom Buckland for the weekend of openings and talks. I finished the final dog, built the crates and packed the works ready for freight. 16 weeks of carving and my elbow is really feeling it, it's time to give it a rest and concentrate on the mountain of admin that I've got to do. Anna is currently in the US for a residency at I-Park, Connecticut. We talk every day and it sounds like a beautiful place to be. My mum, Maimunah Abdullah also took out a prize at the Canning Art Award, nice work mum! The best news of all however is that we're going to have a baby in February next year, everything will change and everything will be awesome, I can't wait to be a dad! X
Hmmmmmm, June. I started off by installing one of the interior works at Rosewood Aged Care Facility in Leederville. It has been an epic project beginning in 2014 but I'm on the home stretch now. Once everything is finalised I'll put up pics. I also took delivery of some ceramic printed glass and installed that as well as a bronze table sculpture. Everything has gotten wintery and cold at the farm, it's a total switch to soggy green which is nice after such a long stretch of dry. I finished off the second dog (that's it in the picture above) in my series for New Zealand and I'm well into the last and largest of them now. I headed over to Sydney to join Anna for a few days for her solo show On the hunt at Galerie Pompom. It went really well and it was great to catch up with Sydney art folk again. That's Anna's second solo show for the year among a mountain of other work. I've started putting together the book that I'm also doing for Rosewood, working with Eva Fernandez and my sister Rabiah Letizia has been great. I love dragging my family into my work and I've got plans for my older brother next. What else.. I built a bunch of new crates and sent work to Broken Hill for the Pro Hart Outback Art Prize and Casula Powerstation for a show coming up.
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.