About the work
All let us rejoice borrows lines from the Australian anthem. The phrase speaks to a national perception of a shared identity and politic. As a nation-state, we are relatively young, and politically we see ourselves as having all the freedoms and self-determination associated with a liberal democracy.
The work is a manually embroidered depiction of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. I have deliberately obscured their eyes and changed the colour of the uniform to keep their identity anonymous, and their portrayal symbolic. The work is not about the specific identity of any one soldier, but about what that soldier represents, and how those collective actions relate to the national identity. What does our liberty mean, when our surrogates are explicitly involved in illiberal, destructive actions in other places? What does it do to the agents, and what does it do to those we inflict our agents on? For many in Australia our military is a symbol of authority and security, but they are being militarily engaged in invasive wars overseas; anyone who comes across our soldiers in action would see them as an existential threat.
About the artist
Abdul Abdullah works across painting, photography, video, installation and performance. As a
self-described ‘outsider amongst outsiders’, his practice is primarily concerned with the
experience of the ‘other’ in society.
Abdullah’s projects have engaged with different marginalized minority groups and 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
His works are in many collections including the National Gallery of Australia, The Art Gallery
of Western Australia, The Gallery of Modern Art, Artbank, the University of Western Australia
and The Islamic Museum of Australia. In 2015 Abdul exhibited at Primavera at the Museum of
Contemporary Art, and at the Asia Pacific Triennial at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane. In
2016 he exhibited at the Australian Centre of Contemporary Art and in 2017 he showed at
PATAKA Art Museum in New Zealand and with Yavuz Gallery at Art Basel Hong Kong and the
Asia Now Art Fair in Paris. Most recently Abdul exhibited at MAIIAM Contemporary Art
Museum in Chiang Mai, Thailand; The National Gallery of Australia as part of Infinite
Conversations, and was shortlisted along with his brother Abdul-Rahman Abdullah to
represent Australia in the 2019 Venice Biennale.
Abdul Abdullah is represented by Yavuz Gallery, Singapore.
- All let us rejoice
- Manual embroidery made with the assistance of DGTMB Studios
- 150 x 120cm | Darebin Art Collection