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Art gallery of western australia           
AGWA media
21 April 2015
WA artists celebrated at AGWA
WA Focus debuts with Abdul-Rahman Abdullah and Abdul Abdullah
22 April 2015 | FREE

Launching Wednesday 22 April is AGWA's new series WA Focus, a space dedicated to displaying the diverse work of Western Australian artists. WA Focus will feature projects that showcase and celebrate the diverse voices (contemporary, historical, Indigenous and non-Indigenous) that comprise this State’s vibrant arts scene. The Gallery will work closely with local artists and the WA arts community to present exhibitions that display the depth of the State’s creative talent, through a mix of gender, discipline and experience.

The space debuts with two high profile emerging artists: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah and Abdul Abdullah. The brothers have been making an impact on the local and national art scenes. The two artists often practice separately but once a year bring their art pieces together in a collaborative exhibition. In 2015 they will explore themes of cultural identity, memory and narrative in the inaugural WA Focus launch.
 
AGWA Director, Stefano Carboni says, “The Gallery is grateful to the Abdullah brothers for making the WA Focus debut exhibition their 2015 joint project, a show that incorporates old and new work to introduce their practices to our broad audiences.”

Seen together, the works in this exhibition detail the impact of their nine year age gap, as the pair had very different experiences growing up pre- and post- the events of 2001. AGWA Curator Robert Cook commented, "Abdul-Rahman grew up before September 11: as a Muslim he felt at ease in his surroundings, happily part of a tolerant and welcoming multi-cultural community. In contrast Abdul grew up after the event and his experience was different: as a Muslim he felt like an “other."



Accordingly, Abdul-Rahman’s works are gentle, poetic evocations of a family life animated by the stories of the Qur'an and family lore. He evokes a magical world where there is always more than just what we see. His sculptures combine family and religious influences in delicate and moving ways.

In distinction, art for Abdul is a vibrant outcry as he pushes the stereotypes that have contained him. His works in this exhibition express his personal feelings about how his name (“they fear my name”) and physicality have been read.

As the first of the WA Focus exhibitions, this display not only celebrates their powerful and moving work, but demonstrates the inherent connectivity of WA to others. "Events, such as September 11 can shift how people, totally unconnected, can feel about themselves and how the actions of one group can shape the daily living of people thousands of kilometres away. In doing so it demonstrates the way that the artists of this region are shaped by the world and respond to it, in creative and confronting ways. Western Australia’s artists are global citizens, sensitive and reflective, bold and dynamic to this place and others," Robert Cook went on to say.

Dr Carboni stated that, "As the WA Focus series unfolds we hope to introduce visitors to the depth and richness of this significant community of makers and thinkers. It is important that their work emerges for a local tradition as much as national and international inspirations."

The WA Focus series program in 2015 includes exhibitions from the Abdullah brothers, Helen Smith, Graham Miller and incorporates one-on-one performances co-presented by Proximity Festival. The program for 2016 is currently being developed.


WHAT'S ON
Artist Talk | FREE

2pm, Saturday 2 May
Join the Abdullah brothers as they discuss their works in the launch exhibition of the WA Focus series.


UP NEXT
Helen Smith

15 August - 18 October 2015

Proximity Festival
28 October - 8 November 2015

Graham Miller
19 November 2015 - 28 February 2016


For further information please visit artgallery.wa.gov.au

For more information, interviews and imagery please contact Tanya Sticca on 9492 6692 or email tanya.sticca@artgallery.wa.gov.au
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Abdul Abdullah Damn dirty ape 2014. Oil and resin on canvas, 120 x 120 cm. Image courtesy of the artist and Fehily Contemporary. Abdul-Rahman Abdullah Wednesday’s child 2013. Tinted resin, digital print, 240V chandelier, 400 x 450 x 500 cm. Image courtesy of the artist and Dianne Tanzer Gallery + Projects.
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