Abdullah M.I. Syed
Dr. Abdullah M.I. Syed (b. 1974) is a Pakistani-born contemporary artist and designer working between Sydney, Karachi and New York. His art practice weaves real and fictional narratives of east and west, seamlessly knitting together cultural and art historical references and concerns from each. Trained in diverse disciplines, Syed utilises a variety of mediums and techniques including sculpture, video installations, drawing, performance and texts to investigate the complex artistic, spiritual, economics and political collisions of hybrid identities. Syed holds a PhD in Art, Media and Design (2015) and a Master of Fine Arts (2009) from University of New South Wales, Sydney. He also holds a Bachelor of Art in Design (1999) and a Master of Education (2001) from University of Central Oklahoma (UCO), Oklahoma, USA. Syed coordinated the Department of Design at the University of Karachi and has lectured at UCO (2000-2003) and UNSW Art & Design (2009-2012).
Syed’s works have been featured in ten solo exhibitions and several international and national curated group exhibitions in art spaces such as Fairfield City Museum and Gallery (Sydney), Aicon Gallery (New York), 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (Sydney), Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (Sydney), Yifu Gallery (Shanghai), Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney), Canvas Gallery (Karachi), Gandhara Art (Karachi), Devi Art Foundation (Gurgaon), Cartwright Hall (Bradford), and National Art Gallery (Islamabad). Syed has also participated in numerous art fairs including Art Dubai, Art Abu Dhabi, Art Stage Singapore, India Art Fair, Art Central and Art Basel, Hong Kong.
His notable curating and co-curating credits include Michael Esson (2010): A Survey of Drawings, Michael Kempson: A Survey of Prints (2010), Aboriginal Dreams (2010), Let’s Draw the Line (2008), and 6/6: The Labyrinth (2006) in Karachi and Remarking Remaking: Contemporary Australian Drawing Connections (2012), Semblance of Order (2013), Drawn to From (2015) and The ‘F’ Show (2016) in Sydney.
He has undertaken artist residencies at Fairfield City Museum and Gallery (2015-2016), Parramatta Artists Studios (2013-2015), Cicada Press (2009 and 2013) and Blacktown Arts Centre (2011) in Sydney. His awards include the Blacktown Art Prize (2010), the UNSW Postgraduate Research Scholarship (2009) and the IAO Installation Art Award (2003). Syed was highly commended in the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize (2014) and was a finalist in the Hazlehurst Prize (2015), Moran Photography Prize (2014) and the Blake Prize (2013 and 2016).
Syed’s work is held in many private and public collections notably Devi Art Foundation, AAN Collection, ASAL Collection, Blacktown Arts Centre, Casula Powerhouse and University of Central Oklahoma (International office).
Image credit: Abdullah M.I. Syed, Rug of Drones (2010)