Portrait of the artist in the firing line: Abdul Abdullah on controversy, threats and rightwing hate mail

19 Jan 2020

The Guardian takes a look at Abdul Abdullah, his brushes with controversy and his thoughts on censorship.

“In December, Abdullah’s artworks All Let Us Rejoice and For We Are Young and Free were singled out of the touring exhibition Violent Salt by Nationals MP George Christensen and Mackay local councillor Martin Bella. The whole exhibition – populated largely by Aboriginal artists – is overtly political, but Abdullah’s work featured the armed forces, any reference to which seemingly provides a hall pass for aggressive jingoism and an interpretation of insult to Anzacs, no matter the original intention of the artist or writer. Bella complained on Facebook that the works were disrespectful, and that Abdullah had defaced images of serving soldiers; Christensen that taxpayers and ratepayers should not subsidise political messages that attacked soldiers.”

Abdul Abdullah will be showing works at the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art in February.

Image courtesy of the artist.