Work by UW–Madison’s Abdu’Allah published in ‘Under the Southern Stars’

The work of UW–Madison’s Faisal Abdu’Allah is published in “Under the Southern Stars” from Te Tuhi, one of New Zealand’s foremost contemporary art spaces.

Faisal Abdu'Allah
Abdu’Allah

Abdu’Allah holds UW–Madison’s Chazen Family Distinguished Chair in Art, and is a professor with the School of Education’s Art Department.

“Under the Southern Stars” is a collection of texts that accompanied exhibitions curated by Te Tuhi Artistic Director Gabriela Salgado between 2017 and 2020.

Included from Abdu’Allah are text and images about his performance piece, “Live Salon,” which exhibited at Te Tuhi in May 2019, after it premiered as part of “The British Art Show” in 2006 and then was performed in many other locations, including the Tate Britain, Autograph, and Tandem Press.

The performance piece features a live barber shop set up in the exhibit space, “providing a platform for an audience member to be a voyeur, a contributor, or to have their hair cut,” Abdu’Allah writes.

“In the gallery space, emotional baggage is often suppressed, yet the familiarity of the barber chair, casual conversation, and the democracy of the participatory performance enables the subject and audience to liberate themselves from the behavioural norms of an art gallery,” he continued.

The iteration of “Live Salon” at Te Tuhi, “explored new terrain,” remarked Abdu’Allah, being performed over four days as “a living, pop-up shop.” Previously, he said, “never had this performance endured for longer than 60 minutes.”

“Under the Southern Stars” is available for download on Te Tuhi’s website, here.