Artist Abdul Abdullah is the recipient of the inaugural $15,000 ‘Australian Muslim Artists Art Prize’, an annual exhibition hosted by the Islamic Museum of Australia and supported by La Trobe University.
As a self-described ‘outsider amongst outsiders’, Abdullah’s practice is primarily concerned with the experience of the ‘other’ in society. His projects have engaged with different marginalised minority groups. He is particularly interested in the experience of young Muslims in the contemporary multicultural Australian context, as well as connecting with creative communities throughout the Asia Pacific. Through these processes and explorations, Abdullah extrapolates this outlook to an examination of universal aspects of human nature.
The winning work, You can call me troublesome from the series ‘Call me by my name’ (2018), features a pensive young woman behind a scrawled smiley-face emoji. The work is a manual embroidery, which took over one month to complete.
‘In making the work, I was concerned about the accusations directed at younger generations that they are not living up to the former generation’s expectations. In this embroidery, a young person looks out at the viewer from behind the superficially qualifying symbol of a smiley-face. The contrasting smiley-face icon and the figure lurking behind suggest a facade of joy, shielding the viewer from a deeper, more ominous truth concealed within the stoic sitter.’
The thirteen shortlisted works will be on display as part of the ‘The Australian Muslim Artists Exhibition’ is on display at the Islamic Museum of Australia in Melbourne, from 13 September to 8 November 2019 alongside the five shortlisted works in the Future Australian Muslim Artists category, which was open to students in Years 10-12.
Fifteen-year-old Hashim Mohamed, a student from the Australian International Academy is the recipient of the $250 non-acquisitive art prize in the Future Australian Muslim Artists category.