Yavuz Gallery is pleased to announce Abdul Abdullah’s fourth solo exhibition with the Gallery, titled Magical Thinking. This new body of work continues Abdullah’s series of anthropomorphised rocks within vivid natural idylls, presenting playful, animist encounters beside an imagined journey. Abdullah paints detailed landscapes appropriated from stock image banks and then enlivens them with bold emoji faces and humanised gestures in his signature white lines. These rocky sentinels act as markers for new beginnings, offering an embrace or a wave that imply a sense of reunion after a period of departure.
Magical Thinking is Abdullah’s first solo show in Australia in four years and expands upon his long-standing explorations of migration, displacement, and journeys. This holds particular significance for the artist alongside his recent move from Sydney to Bangkok. His new paintings greet and encourage those that wander new paths, embodying moments of joy, anxiety, and self-reflection. The artist explains, “I like to imagine the rocks have existed for a very long time, and we are only just discovering them. In addition to this, they have been waiting for us and are pleased to see us.”
Identifying as a Muslim and having both Malay/Indonesian and convict/settler Australian heritage, Abdullah occupies a precarious space in the political discourse that puts him at odds with easy definitions. Grounding his irreverent outlook in an expansive cultural geography that belies reductive boundaries of nationality, Abdullah represents a new face of emerging artists from the Asia-Pacific region.
Artist Talk: Abdul Abdullah in conversation with Alexie Glass-Kantor, Executive Director of Artspace, Sydney, Saturday, 5 August 2023, 2pm