Artist in residence explores black cultural identity

February 6, 2013

Photo: ’World is a Stage’ installation

Faisal Abdu’Allah in Mario Ybarra Jr.’s ‘Sweeney Tate’ (2007) as part of ‘The World as a Stage’ at the Tate Modern gallery, London.

Photo: Andrew Dunkley.

Faisal Abdu’Allah, an internationally acclaimed British artist whose iconographic images of power, race, masculinity, violence, and faith challenge the values and ideologies society attaches to those images, is the The Arts Institute and the Department of Art History’s Spring 2013 Interdisciplinary Artist in Residence.

Photo: Faisal Abdu’Allah


Trained as a printmaker at the Royal College of Art and as a professional barber, Abdu’Allah’s work evolves out of the interface of photography, printed media, film, installation, and performance. His 1993 debut exhibition ‘I Wanna Kill Sam…’ quickly established his interest in confrontation and displacement through provocative installation pieces.

Abdu’Allah still occasionally cuts hair at his barber shop/studio called Faisal’s in Harlesden, London, and is featured in the 2012 documentary film “The Fade” with Pharell Williams and Jay Sean, an intimate portrait of four Afro barbers on three continents.

While in residence, Abdu’Allah is teaching “FauHaus: Bodies, Minds, Senses, and the Arts” with art history Professor Henry Drewal. This art laboratory is composed of student practitioners from visual arts, performance, art history and visual culture. Referencing the legendary Bauhaus — a space where multiple disciplines were encouraged to flourish side by side — FauHaus (F for Faisal, H for Henry, Haus for UW–Madison) is grounded in Drewal’s theory of “sensiotics,” which considers the crucial role of the senses in understanding arts and culture.

FauHaus explores the sensory and cognitive engagements of the human body-mind over fifteen weeks. A roster of internationally renowned visitors, including award-winning artists and actors, esteemed scholars, and museum curators from world-class institutions bring diverse viewpoints to the FauHaus seminar and beyond through a series of free public presentations.

Faisal Abdu’Allah’s residency is hosted by the Department of Art History and cosponsored by the Department of Afro-American Studies, the Art Department, the Department of Communication Arts–Film, the Dance Department, the Design Studies Department, the Theatre and Drama Department, and the Center for Visual Cultures.

More information and the current schedule of events can be seen here

Tags: arts, diversity