A glowing review by ARTS hub for Land Abounds, Abdul Abdullah

12 Jun 2022

From its pairing of a life-sized sculpture of a dead horse with a pastural, colonial-esq landscape to outing pedophiles – Land Abounds both exhilarates and challenges local audiences. The exhibition features the brother duo Abdul Abdullah and Abdul-Raham Abdullah and the equally commended Tracey Moffatt – whom the brothers claimed to have been a powerful influence on their works.

Abdul Abdullah’s polyptych titled Legacy assets is a bird’s eye view of the neighbouring town of Berrima, an imitation of Australia’s 19 and 20th century landscape painters, like Arthur Streeton and Joseph Lycett. Bolded in white paint is the statement: ‘WHAT WOULD OUR PUBLIC COLLECTIONS LOOK LIKE IF WE DIVESTED THEM OF SEX PESTS AND PAEDOPHILES?’ Abdullah confronts, calls out and questions gender equity, and loaded voyeuristic, power-based renditions of women within their collections, in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

“There is no subtlty here. Abdul Abdullah prides himself on being an agitator – to call out, and to question. He points the finger without naming names” writes Gina Fairley.

With a slight shift in tone and lights dimmed, from the ceiling hangs embroidered banners titled Breach, Reach, Together 1 and Together 2. The hanging tapestries silhouette hand gestures of hope, of fear, of reaching in desperation for help, of solidarity and union. A flotilla of white vinyl beanbags seem to offer some navigation and beg one to drop and stop.

Land Abounds is currently presented at Ngungunggula, Southern Highlands Regional Gallery until 24 July 2022.

Image: Installation view of Abdul Abdullah, Breach and Reach, manual embroidery made with the assistance of DGTMB Studios | Photo by Zan Wimberley