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"Watching" by Abdul-Rahman Abdullah and Anna Louise Richardson at West Space Gallery

"Watching" by Abdul-Rahman Abdullah and Anna Louise Richardson at West Space Gallery

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"Watching" by Abdul-Rahman Abdullah and Anna Louise Richardson at West Space Gallery

"Watching" by Abdul-Rahman Abdullah and Anna Louise Richardson. 2022. Studio View.

"Watching" is an upcoming collaborative exhibition by Abdul-Rahman Abdullah and Anna Louise Richardson, which will run from 14 May - 26 June 2022 at West Space Gallery, Collingwood Yards. The works in this exhibition convey feelings of being approached, watched, or singled out by wild or domestic animals. They also capture the emotive resonance of these moments, reflecting ideas of death, fear and preternatural communication with the natural world. Raising a young family in a rural environment, the exhibition builds on the artists’ shared experiences to articulate personal stories that voice their relationships with other living creatures. "Watching" embraces both the magic and fantasy of childhood and the pragmatism of living in close proximity to nature, renewing mythologies about the cyclical processes of life. 

Abdul-Rahman Abdullah in his studio. 

Anna Louise Richardson in her studio. 

"Pair" by Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, 2022. Studio View. Painted wood and wool, 115 x 140 x 60 cm; 115 x 150 x 60cm. 

Abdul-Rahman's sculptural work, "Pair", explores the idea of the animal fugitive; the animals that slip through the agricultural system as neither pets nor livestock and are left to adapt and grow old. Sheep occupy specific cultural spaces in Australian nationalist mythologies and Abrahamic theologies as a passive resource. Affording them the nuance of individuality questions our perceptions of the ‘other’, and how imposed roles may frame our perspectives.

"You are always here, sometimes too close (magpie)" by Anna Louise Richardson. 2022. Charcoal on cement fibreboard, 117 x 87 cm. 

Anna's large-scale drawings allude to strange interactions between the artist and wild birds in the year following the death of her mother. She diarised these close encounters, which often occur in moments of emotional tension, and then created monster-sized drawings of the birds of prey she encountered. The owls, crows, and eagles were drawn with eyes tuned to the viewer as if seeking emotional resonance from animal witnesses. Drawn around the birth of her last child, these works are about the possibilities of preternatural communication with the natural world and connecting via animals to those who are no longer here.

"Am I being told off (butcherbird)" by Anna Louise Richardson. 2022. Charcoal on cement fibreboard, 97 x 123 cm.

Anna Louise Richardson, work in progress. Studio View. 2022. 

About the Artists

Abdul-Rahman Abdullah

Abdul-Rahman Abdullah explores the different ways that memory inhabits familial spaces. While his own experiences as a Muslim Australian of mixed Malay and Anglo ethnicity provide a starting point, his work foregrounds shared understandings of individual identity from a cross-cultural perspective, creating new mythologies for an uncertain future. Living on a cattle farm in rural WA, he provides alternative perspectives across a complex geography of intersecting and disparate communities. Working in sculpture and installation, his practice has been described as magic realism, creating poetic interventions with the built environment. Ideas of the family provide a framework to explore relationships between parents, siblings and children, and the shared experiences of death, love, resilience and spirituality. Graduating from Curtin University in 2012 his career highlights include the Adelaide Biennial 2016; Art Gallery
of South Australia, The National 2019; Museum of Contemporary Art; Everything Is True (Perth Festival 2021), John Curtin Gallery. His work is held in major collections around the country, and he is represented by MOORE CONTEMPORARY, Perth.

Anna Louise Richardson

Anna Louise Richardson is an artist and freelance curator investigating rural identity and associated mythologies. Working in charcoal and graphite on cement fibreboard her work is often autobiographical, revealing intergenerational connections with the land-based on her life in rural WA. Living on a multigeneration beef cattle farm, her work focuses on the land, animals and objects inherently tied with place. Her drawings use techniques of flattened perspective, cut-out shapes and scale to amplify subjects through depth and tone. Through her work Anna explores the complex relationships between rural life, the environment and ecological responsibility, depicting animals as a recurring motif connecting us as living creatures with shared
vulnerabilities. Often her work deals with death to examine the role of animals in culture, commerce and ecology, and how these are shaped through different histories, imagination and storytelling. Since graduating from Curtin University in 2013, Anna has had solo exhibitions at Maitland Regional Art Gallery 2020, Galerie pompom 2017 & 2020, Bayside Arts & Cultural Centre 2017, MARS Gallery 2015 & PS Art Space 2015.


Exhibition Dates: 14 May - 26 June 2022
Address: West Space, Collingwood Yards. Perry St, Collingwood VIC 3066, Australia


All images are courtesy of Moore Contemporary and the artists. Photos by Bo Wong.


Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.


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