BROTH­ERS IN ART ON BE­ING MUS­LIM

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Lifestyle - Michele Nu­gent

ART THE thought-pro­vok­ing art of Vic­to­ria Park-raised broth­ers Ab­dul-Rah­man Ab­dul­lah and Ab­dul Ab­dul­lah is the first to be show­cased in the Art Gallery of WA’s new se­ries WA Fo­cus.

Ab­dul-Rah­man, now a Bicton res­i­dent, and Ab­dul, now based in Syd­ney, have both been mak­ing an im­pact on the lo­cal and na­tional art scenes.

They of­ten prac­tise separately but bring their art pieces to­gether for an an­nual col­lab­o­ra­tive ex­hi­bi­tion. This year they are ex­plor­ing themes of cul­tural iden­tity, mem­ory and nar­ra­tive.

Seen to­gether, the works in this free 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.

“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,” said AGWA Cu­ra­tor Robert Cook.

“In con­trast Ab­dul grew up af­ter the event and his ex­pe­ri­ence was dif­fer­ent: as a Mus­lim he felt like an “other”.

“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.

“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.”

One day can change the world: WA broth­ers Ab­dul-Rah­man Ab­dul­lah and Ab­dul Ab­dul­lah ex­plore what it’s like to grow up be­fore and af­ter 9/11.

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