Artist Spotlight: Faisal Abdu’Allah confronts race, masculinity, and power through art

faisal 5In case your visual repertoire has been in dire need of an artist who will deliver

“confrontation and displacement through provocative installation pieces,”

have no fear, the Multicultural Student Center has just the suggestion for you. This year UW-Madison is proud to announce their 2013 Artist in Residence, Faisal Abdu’Allah.

As an internationally renowned artist born of Jamaican parents and based in London, Faisal focuses his work on race, power, masculinity, and violence. After specializing in printmaking at the Royal College of Art, he debuted his first major work in I wanna kill sam (1993)…... Further works of Abdu´Allah include ‘The Garden of Eden’ (2003) with architect David Adjaye, ´Gold Finger´ (2007), with the late Joey Pyle from the British mafia, and ‘Double Pendulum’ (2011) with British Olympian Sprinter, Jeanetta Kwayke.

faisal 1Through mixed combinations of photography, digital media, printmaking, installation, and performance, Faisal aims to create spaces that speak the unspoken and provoke the mind to challenge its comfort level and judgment calls in an urban environment. Abdu’Allah is a senior lecturer in Fine Arts at the University of East London, and on the rare down time that he has, he cuts hair at his own barber shop.

For Spring 2013, UW-Madison offered Faisal’s engaging and explorative course, “FauHaus: Bodies, Minds, Senses, and the Arts” in collaboration with Henry Drewal, Professor in Art History at UW-Madison; the course is grounded in Drewal’s theory of “sensiotics.” It consists of an expansive training series which hosts various artists from multiple disciplines. In addition to the work produced by students, Faisal will also be compiling a work in progress of his own through collaboration with the FauHaus conglomerate.

I’m currently enrolled in the course and can see how this innovative teaching method is going to be catalytic in each student’s artistic output.

A sample of a photo inkjet print used by a guest artist during a training session which includes Ely Lynch and myself.

A sample of a photo inkjet print used by a guest artist during a training session which includes Ely Lynch and myself.

Faisal will also be hosting a series of public events that will be held on Wednesdays on the Madison campus.

So if your mind is demanding content that is proactive toward the senses and work that challenges the institutionalized/normalized reactions to a particular environment, check out some of Faisal’s work by dropping in on one of the lectures offered by Faisal Abdu’Allah and friends.

faisal 3 faisal 2 faisal4

Written by Marvin Gutierrez, Multicultural Student Center Social Justice Intern and First Wave Scholar. Marvin is a MC, actor, poet, and visual artist. He is also the Secretary of the National MEChA Coordinating Council and a Culturarte Workshop Facilitator. 

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