AMA Art Prize 2019 winner announced

An Archibald Prize (2011) finalist, Abdul Abdullah, is the recipient of the inaugural $15,000 Australian Muslim Artists Art Prize 2019, sponsored by La Trobe University.

La Trobe is a major sponsor for the Australian Muslim Artists exhibition - an annual exhibition hosted by the Islamic Museum of Australia, with the acquisitive Art Prize at the heart of the sponsorship.

2019 marks the first occasion the Australian Muslim Artists Art Prize has been offered.

Perth-born Abdullah, now residing in Sydney, submitted his work, You can call me troublesome. The winning piece was manually embroidered, took over a month to create and was done with the assistance of a village community in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Upon hearing the news, Mr Abdullah said it was an honour to be selected for the award.

“It’s really hard to describe how much I appreciate this recognition. I am looking forward to visiting the work in the exhibition and really look forward to seeing all the other finalists,” he said.

Professor John Dewar, Vice-Chancellor, La Trobe University, said he was delighted Abdul Abdullah had been selected as the inaugural Australian Muslim Artists Art Prize recipient, sponsored by La Trobe.

“La Trobe University offers our sincere congratulations to Mr Abdullah on such an outstanding and well-deserved achievement,” Professor Dewar said.

“Our support of the Australian Muslim Artists exhibition and Art Prize - a core component of our deep collaboration with the Islamic Museum of Australia - reinforces our shared commitment to transforming lives through education and connecting with diverse communities.”

Islamic Museum of Australia General Manager Maryum Chaudhry said the Museum is thrilled with the breadth of works included in the exhibition across both categories.

“Overall the quality of submissions was of an extraordinary standard. This year saw an unprecedented level of interest from artists across the country, and we attribute this in part, to the new acquisitive Art Prize which we are thrilled to offer thanks to La Trobe’s support,” she said.

The thirteen shortlisted works will be on display as part of the exhibition alongside the five shortlisted works in the Future Australian Muslim Artists category, which was open to students in Years 10-12.

Fifteen-year old Hashim Mohamed, a student from Australian International Academy is the recipient of the $250 non-acquisitive art prize in the Future Australian Muslim Artists category.

The Australian Muslim Artists exhibition is on display from 13 September – 8 November 2019.

The Islamic Museum of Australia is located in Thornbury, in Melbourne’s north. It is the only Islamic museum in the country and provides educational and cross-cultural experiences for all ages. The Museum is open 10am – 4pm, Monday to Saturday.

About the artist and the winning piece - You can call me troublesome

Australian Muslim Artists Art Prize 2019 - Winner

Abdul Abdullah

You can call me troublesome, 2019

Manual embroidery

150 × 120 cm

Abdul Abdullah (b.1986) is an artist from Perth, currently based in Sydney. As a self-described ‘outsider amongst outsiders’, his practice is primarily concerned with the experience of the ‘other’ in society. Abdullah’s projects have engaged with different marginalised minority groups and he is particularly interested in the experience of young Muslims in the contemporary multicultural Australian context, as well as connecting with creative communities throughout the Asia Pacific. Through these processes and explorations Abdullah extrapolates this outlook to an examination of universal aspects of human nature.

You can call me troublesome from the series ‘Call me by my name’ (2018) features a pensive young woman behind a scrawled smiley-face emoji. Abdullah writes:

“In making the work I was concerned about the accusations directed at younger generations that they are not living up to the former generation’s expectations. In this embroidery, a young person looks out at the viewer from behind the superficially qualifying symbol of a smiley-face. The contrasting smiley-face icon and the figure lurking behind suggest a facade of joy, shielding the viewer from a deeper, more ominous truth concealed within the stoic sitter.”

PHOTO: Winning artist Abdul Abdullah with Professor John Dewar, Vice-Chancellor La Trobe University and Islamic Museum of Australia Chair Moustafa Fahour.

- ENDS -

Media contact (La Trobe):

Claire Bowers | Media and Communications Manager | La Trobe University

0437 279 903 |

Media contact (IMA):

Mei Nee Cheong | Media and Marketing Manager | Islamic Museum of Australia

0414 264 987 |