Ian Abdulla

The artist was born in 1947 at Swan Reach in South Australia. His mother was a Ngarrindjerie woman from Point McLeay on the lower Murray River and his father, part Afgan, explains his surname.
He grew up in Cobdogla on the Murray, Australia’s largest river. It is a thirty kilometre stretch of this great waterway that most often features in his art, much of which is a commentary on the enjoyment that can be had in the face of material hardship.
Abdulla began painting in in 1989 due largely to the mentorship of Steve Fox, who had been the art adviser at Yirrkala in North East Arnhem Land.

His paintings can be enjoyed for both aesthetic and documentational reasons. The colour and exuberance of his imagery with their sharp definition between land and sky delight the eye. The narrative nature of their content is made explicit with the explanatory block texts that form part of his paintings and serve to show the lifestyle of his people in the Riverland.

The artist was painting up until hiss untimely death in 2011.
Subject & Themes
The joys and hardship of his childhood years growing up on the Murray River
Individual Exhibitions
2010 Short St Gallery, Broome
2010 ‘The Early Years’, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
2010 William Mora Gallery, Melbourne
2009 ‘Good Hard Life’, Michael Reid Gallery, Sydney
2009 ‘The Long and the Short of it’, Cross Cultural Art Exchange, Darwin
2009 ‘Yarns’, AP Bond Art Dealer, Adelaide
2007 ‘New Work’, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
2006 ‘Marree Suite, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
2004 Riverland Suite, Adelaide Festival Centre, 2004 Adelaide Festival of the Arts, Adelaide
2003 Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
2001 Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
2001 Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
2001 River Land & Memory: The Work of Ian Abdulla, Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide
2000 Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
1999 Japingka Art Gallery, Perth
1999 ‘Showing Off’, installation, Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute in collaboration with Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
1998 Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
1998 Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
1998 Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs
1998 Chapman Gallery, Canberra
1998 Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
1997 Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
1996 Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
1995 Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
1995 Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
1994 Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
1993 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
1993 Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
1993 ‘Looking for a head strainer’, Fremantle Arts Centre
1992 Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
1991 Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Adelaide
1990 Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute
1990 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
Abdulla, Ian W. (1993). As I grew older: the life and times of a Nunga growing up along the Murray River. Norwood, South Australia: Omnibus Books. p. 40. ISBN 1-86291-160-6.
Abdulla, Ian W. (1994). Tucker. Norwood, South Australia: Omnibus Books. p. 36. ISBN 1-86291-206-8.

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