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Faisal Abdu’Allah: Squad at the Edinburgh Printmakers

When I was up in Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago I finally had the chance to visit the Edinburgh Printmakers. This is something I had wanted to do for ages, I follow their page on Instagram and artists always seem to be producing a variety of prints where the boundaries of the medium are pushed. The work of Faisal Abdu’Allah’s work first struck interest with me because of how he was using print in an unconventional way. I saw pictures of the process I was intrigued to find out more behind the meaning of using hair within the creations.

Within the exhibition and expressly for this show the artist has created 12 portraits of Squad members. The exhibition explores the idea connectively and exponential relationships. 12 individuals are represented, who on the surface may look ordinary but in reality they represent the latent common hero in all of us.  I think it is making the viewer look at people in a new light. It presents an awareness of self and made me as the viewer questions my own place within society and where I fit.

Within the exhibition large scale portraits of these individuals were presented but so were smaller portraits using human hair. This is the in keeping with the artist’s interest in social commentary on the nature of displacement and cultural assumptions. It continued the make me think about the idea of iconography within today’s society and what constitutes a hero or an icon.

The artists work reflects his deep engagement with the physical and metaphysical properties of material through traditional printmaking techniques, however he is pushing these boundaries to give more meaning to material and process.

I always admire art that makes me think of the bigger picture. Artists use their practice to make social commentary like Faisal does is very inspiring and continues to show how art is another way of engaging people to questioning the world around us.


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