Dr. Abdullah M. I. Syed (b. 1974) is a Pakistani-born contemporary artist and designer working between Sydney, Karachi and New York. His art practice weaves real and fictional narratives of east and west, seamlessly knitting together cultural and art historical references and concerns from each. Trained in diverse disciplines, Syed utilises a variety of mediums and techniques including sculpture, video installations, drawing, performance and texts to investigate collisions between art, religion, economy and politics.

Syed holds a PhD in Art, Media and Design (2015) and a Master of Fine Arts (2009) from University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. He also holds a Bachelor of Art in Design (1999) and a Master of Education (2001) from University of Central Oklahoma (UCO), Edmond, Oklahoma, USA. Syed is part of eleven, a collective of contemporary Muslim Australian artists, curators and writers. 

Syed has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally and performed at the Asia Triennial of Performance Art (Asia TOPA 2017) in Melbourne, Pataka Museum in Proirua, Art Central in Hong Kong, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in Sydney, and Stage Centre in Oklahoma. Syed’s work is held in many private and public collections notably Devi Art Foundation, Rangoonwala Foundation, AAN Collection, Blacktown Arts Centre, Casula Powerhouse, University of Central Oklahoma and the US State Department Art in Embassy Islamabad.

Syed has undertaken artist residencies at Fairfield City Museum and Gallery (2015-2016), Parramatta Artists Studios (2013-2015), Cicada Press (2009 and 2013) and Blacktown Arts Centre (2011) in Sydney. His awards include the Blacktown Art Prize (2010), the UNSW Postgraduate Research Scholarship (2009) and the IAO Installation Art Award (2003). Syed was highly commended in the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize (2014) and was a finalist in the Hazlehurst Prize (2015), Moran Photography Prize (2014) and the Blake Prize (2013 and 2016). 

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Photo: Mim Sterling

Photo: Mim Sterling