“My practice explores definitions of cultural identity, focusing on childhood memory and domestic narratives to access esoteric social histories within an urban Australian environment. My interest in defining identity in experiential terms emerges from a Muslim heritage that is both seventh-generation Australian and Malay. The overlaying of divergent cultural and historical influences inform my artistic outlook, giving me the impetus to investigate ideas of alterity and marginalised identity. The idea of subjective reconstruction provides the basis of my practice, clarifying formative passages of personal history in ways that can be experienced by an audience. Creating a physical dialogue with my own past allows me to explore some of the more opaque aspects of the Muslim Australian experience, referencing ideas of spirituality, multi-ethnic identity and the arcane in equal measure. Re-imagining the real is a process of translation; an exercise in which the passage of time plays a central role determining the resonance of the past through the imperfect lens of memory. Over the past 12 months my studio practice has focused on wood carving, looking at the materiality of wood and the reductive process as expanded drawing. My approach has been defined as ‘magic realism’, drawing on traditional values of craftsmanship and storytelling that allow me to create new experiences from old histories.” – Abdul-Rahman Abdullah
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