Abdul Abdullah 

Instagram: @abdul_abdullah


For 52 ACTIONS I will document and examine tattooing as a platform for permanent, personal and political statements. In a series of photographs, I will document several of my text-based tattoos, and pair them with a short piece of writing about how they each serve as personal reminders of my political principles. The series will conclude with video documentation of a new tattoo that signals an optimistic ambition for future actions. In addition to the tattoo series I will be working with artist Jess Herrington to develop an Instagram Face Filter that acts as a universally representative mask of anonymity for our perilous times.  

Artist bio


Abdul Abdullah (b. 1986) is an artist from Perth, currently based in Sydney, who works across painting, photography, video, installation and performance. As a self described ‘outsider amongst outsiders’, his practice is primarily concerned with the experience of the ‘other’ in society. Abdullah’s projects have engaged with different marginalized minority groups and he is particularly interested in the experience of young Muslims in the contemporary multicultural Australian context, as well as connecting with creative communities throughout the Asia Pacific.  Through these processes and explorations Abdullah extrapolates this outlook to an examination of universal aspects of human nature.   

His works are included in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Art Gallery of Western Australia, The Gallery of Modern Art, Artbankthe University of Western Australia, Murdoch University, The Islamic Museum of Australia and The Bendigo Art Gallery. In 2015 Abdul exhibited at Primavera at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and at the Asia Pacific Triennial at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, in 2016 he exhibited at the Australian Centre of Contemporary Art and in 2017 he showed at PATAKA Art Museum in New Zealand and with Yavuz Gallery at Art Basel Hong Kong and the Asia Now Art Fair in Paris. Most recently Abdul exhibited at MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum in Chiangmai, The National Gallery of Australia as part of Infinite Conversations, Art Basel Hong Kong, and was shortlisted along with his brother Abdul-Rahman Abdullah to represent Australia in the 2019 Venice Biennale. In 2020 Abdul exhibited at the Adelaide Biennial, The Armory Show in New York, and the Gropius Bau Museum in Berlin. 



I worked at a boxing gym for ten years in Perth. The fellas pulled a lot of pranks. A favourite would be when we were eating out together at some place, preferably with someone new, one of the fighters would secretly place a hot chip on the new guy’s shoulder. A second guy would stand up and slam the table and explode at the new guy, getting in his face, accusing him of something like he wanted to fight him. He would end with: “what’s the matter with you? – you got fucking a chip on your shoulder”.



“karama” is the word for dignity or respect in Arabic. I’m right handed, so often my left hand is just floating around, or holding something. It’s less dexterous, but it’s always in view. I don’t have to look far for the reminder.



Sometime around 2013 my brother @Abdul_rahman_abdullah and I would go and train with @richard_lewer ‘s fighters when he was coaching boxers in Perth. Richard was also mentoring us a bit with our practices. My brother was explaining an idea he had, and Richard’s feedback was: “so what”. It was cutting, but also struck to the heart of the matter. What are we doing anything for? Beyond the technical and the aesthetic, why does it matter, and why should it mean anything to anyone else. I liked the advice so much I kept it.



I write with my right hand and I paint with my right hand. I reach out with it when I meet somebody new. It’s where the action is. The tattoo is a spell. I’m imbuing my actions with urgency. There’s no time. Change it now. Move forward. Hurry the fuck up.



When I was a younger I really liked The Streets. There was a lyric that always stuck with me, that I never realised was paraphrased the bible. “I came to this world with nothing, and I’ll leave with nothing but love, everything else is just borrowed ⠀



Sometimes shit gets a bit much. Sometimes you just have to Chill The Fuck Out, and Take Care Of Business. 



I saw the word PARADISE tattooed on my friend Teon’s head. It was so simple. What’s happiness without purpose? What’s the journey without the goal? The way I saw it, paradise isn’t a place, it’s an idea; it’s an aspiration. It’s something better. It’s something to look to. Today my friend @tattoomondays put it on my stomach above ‘salam’, the Arabic word for peace, and below a favourite quote from the Qura; a smile is a charity. The point of an obstacle is to overcome it. The point of the journey is the destination. The destination may
be abstract, but the pathway is our lived reality. ⠀

Past Actions

07 Jun - 13 Jun 2021

Unbound Collective

31 May - 06 Jun 2021

OLC Art Collective

24 May - 30 May 2021

Naomi Hobson

17 May - 23 May 2021

Adrft Lab

10 May - 16 May 2021

Pat Brassington

03 May - 09 May 2021

Eddie Abd

26 Apr - 02 May 2021

Loren Kronemyer

19 Apr - 25 Apr 2021

Guo Jian

12 Apr - 18 Apr 2021

Kenny Pittock

05 Apr - 11 Apr 2021

Jannawi Dance Clan

29 Mar - 04 Apr 2021

Gillian Kayrooz

22 Mar - 28 Mar 2021

Nathan Beard

15 Mar - 21 Mar 2021

Pilar Mata Dupont

08 Mar - 14 Mar 2021

Michael Cook

01 Mar - 07 Mar 2021

Seini F Taumoepeau

22 Feb - 28 Feb 2021

Dani Marti

15 Feb - 21 Feb 2021

Lill Colgan & Sab D'Souza

08 Feb - 14 Feb 2021

Chris Yee

01 Feb - 07 Feb 2021

Rochelle Haley

25 Jan - 31 Jan 2021

Karrabing Film Collective

18 Jan - 24 Jan 2021

Nici Cumpston

11 Jan - 17 Jan 2021

Johnathon World Peace Bush

07 Dec - 13 Dec 2020


30 Nov - 06 Dec 2020

Raquel Ormella

23 Nov - 29 Nov 2020

Léuli Eshrāghi

16 Nov - 22 Nov 2020

Rolande Souliere

09 Nov - 15 Nov 2020

TV Moore

02 Nov - 08 Nov 2020

Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu

26 Oct - 01 Nov 2020

Ivey Wawn

19 Oct - 25 Oct 2020

Naomi Blacklock

12 Oct - 18 Oct 2020

Sancintya Mohini Simpson

05 Oct - 11 Oct 2020

Yhonnie Scarce

28 Sep - 04 Oct 2020

Ruha Fifita

21 Sep - 27 Sep 2020

Kaylene Whiskey

14 Sep - 20 Sep 2020

Adam Linder

07 Sep - 13 Sep 2020

Archie Barry

31 Aug - 06 Sep 2020

Min Wong

24 Aug - 30 Aug 2020

Hayley Millar-Baker

17 Aug - 23 Aug 2020

Erin Coates

10 Aug - 16 Aug 2020

Diego Bonetto

03 Aug - 09 Aug 2020

Tyza Hart

27 Jul - 02 Aug 2020

Larissa Hjorth

20 Jul - 26 Jul 2020

Louise Zhang

13 Jul - 19 Jul 2020

Henri Papin (Meijers & Walsh)

06 Jul - 12 Jul 2020


29 Jun - 05 Jul 2020

Rainbow Chan

22 Jun - 28 Jun 2020

Jason Phu

15 Jun - 21 Jun 2020

Abdul Abdullah

08 Jun - 14 Jun 2020

Patricia Piccinini

01 Jun - 07 Jun 2020

Brook Andrew

25 May - 31 May 2020


18 May - 24 May 2020

James Tylor