Abdullah M.I. Syed (Karachi & Sydney)

Flesh and Blood

Known for his gritty, pain-inflicting endurance performances, Syed transformed the rose, a desirable cultural and spiritual material symbolizing love, purity, soul, and melancholia in South Asian cultures, into a bloody pulp to bring attention to the deteriorating conditions of life in the Islamic world as a result of internal and external bloody conflicts. The ‘dematerialization’ of the rose into an abject and unstable substance of political mess further disrupted social norms and one’s senses, a reminder that all humans are ultimately made of flesh and blood and equally susceptible to and affected by violence. The performance questioned what ones beliefs are, what are the constructs of ones identity, and how are they represented in the media, popular culture, and social networks.

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Abdullah M.I. Syed’s FIELD MEETING participation is supported by Aicon Gallery.

Abdullah M.I. Syed, Flesh and Blood, 2017. Performance documentation FIELD MEETING Take 5: Thinking Project, November 14th at Asia Society.


Dr. Abdullah M. I. Syed is a Pakistani-born contemporary artist and designer working between Sydney, Karachi, and New York. He recently completed his PHD at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Trained in diverse disciplines and Inspired by Islamic art and western design philosophies, Syed frequently employ the visual effects and tropes of symmetry, repetition, grid and fragmentation to generate new forms whilst re-examining his diaspora identity as a Pakistani Muslim within a Global context. He treats materials as reactive agents within his artistic processes, purposefully entangling audiences in a web of social connections and experience, which subsequently inform the poetic aspect of his body endurance performances. Syed’s works have been featured in nine solo exhibitions and several national and international curated group exhibitions and performance events such as Asia TOPA, Melbourne (2017). Syed has participated in numerous fairs including Art Dubai, Art Stage Singapore, Art Basel and Art Central, Hong Kong (2016) where he performed The Flying Buck. Syed awards include the Blacktown Art Prize (2010), the UNSW Postgraduate Research Scholarship (2009) and the IAO Installation Art Award, Oklahoma (2003). Syed was highly                                                                                                                                                                        commended in the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize (2014) and                                                                                                                                                                      was a finalist in the Moran Photography Prize (2014) and the                                                                                                                                                                          Blake Prize (2013 and 2016).

                                                                                                                                                                                                Flesh & Blood: Photography by Carrisa Tan, Image courtesy the artist and                                                                                                                                                                                                          Aicon Gallery, New York