Abdul Abdullah and Christopher Bassi at the National Portrait Gallery
26 Mar 2023
Yavuz Gallery would like to announce that Abdul Abdullah and Christopher Bassi are two of the twenty-three artists presenting at The National Portrait Gallery’s Portrait23: Identity. The exhibition features a diverse spectrum of works by multi-award-winning contemporary Australian artists and collectives.
Portraiture serves as a reflection of the artist’s personal identity, community, and history, as well as contemporary society. This exhibition presents deeply personal themes such as cultural knowledge, feminism, visibility/invisibility, activism, and migrant experiences, which resonates collectively. Through an eclectic array of artworks spanning various mediums, the exhibit aims to not only invite viewers to engage with the portraits but also challenge the boundaries of portraiture.
Abdullah’s practice centers primarily on the experience of the ‘other,’ as he describes himself as an ‘outsider amongst outsiders’ with a post-9/11 mentality. He identifies as a Muslim and is of Malay/Indonesian and convict/settler Australian heritage, placing him in a precarious position in the political discourse. His two embroidered tapestries of ‘weretiger’, titled Watched but not seen and Surveilled, address the distance between a person’s perceived identity and the reality of their lived actions and beliefs.
In contrast, Bassi’s self-portrait delves into cross-cultural experiences and the intricacies of home, place, and belonging. Bassi shares, “The starting point for me is the title, ‘A Piece of the Continent, a Part of the Main‘, and it’s an extract from prose by the English poet John Dunn. The full phrase is ‘No man is an island … No man is an island entire of himself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main’. That phrase kind of expresses this idea of the self as a part of something larger, something interconnected with – for me – a culture, a place, a community, a people.”
Portrait23: Identity is presented at the National Portrait Gallery until 8 June 2023.