5 questions with Abdul Abdullah into Interspecies and Other Others

12 Aug 2022

Interspecies and Other Others is an exhibition by Abbotsford Convent investigating the human condition, history, and habitat through artistic mediums delving into mythological tales, mystical figures, and liminal forms. With a set of alternate imaginaries entangling the livelihood of human beings, other species, and the environment, it sets forth a series of fundamental questions about the speculative and often contradictory self-build, non-binary relationships across entities. It entails deconstructing and decolonizing the cultural frame of language, media influence, behavior, and social identity and creates new models of reciprocity and accountability for environmental and socio-political concerns.

Curated by Kelli Alred, the artworks disrupt the linear conception of time imposed by colonialism and give voice to Indigenous notions of Country and custodianship. With reference to moments of racial and gender-based oppression, the works explore concepts of place and displacement, demonstrating acts of reclamation and resistance.

Abbotsford Convent had a conversation with Abdul Abdullah about his new series, Interloper, and the inspirations behind it. In the interview, Abdullah elaborates further on his collaboration with David Charles Collins and Kelli Alred along with his intimate account of a fox living on the societal fringe and out of our peripherals. As a Muslim with both Malaysian/Indonesian lineage and a convict/setter of Australian heritage, Abdul occupies a precarious space in the political discourse that puts him at odds with popular definitions — An “outsider amongst outsiders”.

Interspecies and Other Others is displayed at Abbotsford Convent precinct until 2 October 2022.

Image: Abdul Abdullah, Watching from the fringes, 2022, C print, 100cm x 125cm