Kedela wer kalyakoorl ngalak Wadjak boodjak yaak.

Today and always, we stand on the traditional land of the Whadjuk Noongar people.

Abdul-Rahman Abdullah Throneroom 2021 (detail). Painted wood, 180 x 160 x 260 cm (overall). State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia. Purchased through the Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation: TomorrowFund, 2021. Install image – Diaspora Pavilion 2; I am a beating heart in the world, Campbelltown Art Centre 2021. Photographer – Kai Wasikowski.

Artist Talk: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah

Hear from WA artist Abdul-Rahman Abdullah as he discusses his work Throneroom which explores the collisions and ellipses between lived and imagined experiences of cultural identity, belonging and un-belonging through the lens of his Muslim heritage.

Facilitated by Robert Cook, AGWA Curator of Western Australian and Australian Art.

Abdul-Rahman Abdullah

A tiger pelt and two monkeys hand-carved from wood act as a portable chamber of power that references migration, colonial inquest and this artist’s family heritage.

Throneroom 2021 is a strange and lyrical study in realistic poetics: the animation of objects into magical forms and bonds that hold and unleash memory and longing, avoiding a simple reading.

Connection to the artist’s ancestral homeland in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, is at the fore in Throneroom. Abdullah was born in Port Kembla, New South Wales, and grew up in Perth, the son of an Anglo-Australian father and a Malay mother who migrated from Malaysia to Australia in 1971. Her family line stems from old Bugis nobility originating in Sulawesi.

In 1662, Abdullah’s family was banished from the island in scandal, and when he travelled there to trace his roots in 2015, he became the first person in his bloodline to return to their ancestral homeland — 13 generations later. That trip inspired Throneroom.