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Abdul Abdullah, Jangan Sakiti Hatiku – Don’t Break My Heart
Abdul Abdullah, Don't break my heart, 2018, oil on linen, 240 x 180 cm
Abdul Abdullah, Jangan Sakiti Hatiku – Don’t Break My Heart
Abdul Abdullah, You don't have to say you love me, 2018, oil on linen, 240 x 180 cm 
Abdul Abdullah, Jangan Sakiti Hatiku – Don’t Break My Heart
Abdul Abdullah, Love me do, 2018, oil on linen, 240 x 180 cm
Abdul Abdullah, Jangan Sakiti Hatiku – Don’t Break My Heart
Abdul Abdullah, Love is all around, 2018, oil on linen, 240 x 180 cm
Abdul Abdullah, Jangan Sakiti Hatiku – Don’t Break My Heart
21 Sep 2018 - 14 Oct 2018

Yavuz Gallery is proud to present Jangan Sakiti Hatiku – Don’t Break My Heart, the first solo exhibition of acclaimed Australian artist Abdul Abdullah with the gallery. The exhibition debuts his new series of paintings developed over the past several months in Jogjakarta and Sydney. Showcasing his deft control of the brush, these large-scale works continue the artist’s examination of contemporary landscapes. Depicting ominous bulbous explosions overlaid with figures rendered in cartoon familiarity, they consider humanity’s complicity in our shared future.

As an ‘outsider amongst outsiders’, Abdul’s practice is motivated by a longstanding concern on the misconceptions and misunderstandings of minority groups in a multicultural society. Providing a voice to these rarely told topics, he creates carefully crafted political commentaries that speak of the ‘other’ and the experiences of marginalised communities. Rather than emphasising difference, Abdul creates works that highlight similarities, presenting images that intersect between popular culture, contemporary conflicts and personal experience. Themes of decolonialisation, political warfare, and media coverage of radicalisation are interwoven throughout, challenging his audiences about their own preconceptions of contemporary society to encourage open dialogue.

In his latest series of work, Abdul refers to a broader history of Cold War politics and culture with a distinct and incisive perspective. Flat, cartoon-like figures illustrating an ambiguity, irreverence and comedy react to painterly depictions of actual explosions located through the artist’s research on missile tests. The tragedy contrasted against the levity of the figures captures a nuanced and unsettling examination of a fraught and turbulent point in history. Embedded in the title of each work are references to 1960s love songs, adding yet another facet to the complexities surrounding the impact of that era as many remain popular today. Jangan Sakiti Hatiku – Don’t Break My Heart brings to the forefront the embodiment of complex political dynamics within contemporary collective memory, to consider the extensive legacies and trauma surrounding them.

Accompanying the exhibition is an illustrated catalogue, written by Mikala Tai, a curator, writer, academic and the Director of the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in Sydney, Australia.


Abdul Abdullah (b. 1986, Australia) is an interdisciplinary artist that works across painting, photography, textile and installation. His previous projects engaged with various marginalised minority groups, examining in particular the experiences of young Muslims in multicultural Australia. Though political in context, his works do not attempt to address any specifics of religion or comment on particular individuals who practice it, but instead examines the complex feelings of displacement and alienation associated with histories of diaspora and migration. Notions of cultural hybridity, ceremony, ritual, and intimate aspects of the self and identity are revealed in his work through his darkly distinctive oeuvre that is confronting and deeply elucidating in regard to the human condition. Abdul is collected by the National Gallery of Australia, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, amongst others. Recent curated exhibitions include: ENOUGH خلاص KHALAS, UNSW Galleries, Australia (2018); Infinite conversations, National Gallery Australia (2018); DIASPORA: Exit, Exile, Exodus of Southeast Asia, MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Thailand (2018); Dark Horizons, Pataka Art+Museum, New Zealand (2017); and Jogja Calling, 4A Centre of Contemporary Asian Art, Australia (2016). He participated in the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (2015), and is a four-time Archibald Prize finalist and three-time Sulman Prize finalist, the most prestigious art prizes in Australia, a rarity for an artist of his years.

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