Faisal Abdu’Allah, an internationally acclaimed artist and professor with the School of Education’s Art Department, has been chosen as UW-Madison’s next recipient of the Chazen Family Distinguished Chair in Art.
Abdu’Allah, who grew up in London, was enjoying a successful professional career as an artist when he was invited to UW–Madison in 2013 to work on campus as the Arts Institute’s Interdisciplinary Artist in Residence. He was then invited to return to UW–Madison in the fall of 2014 to join the Art Department as a faculty member, and has become a highly regarded educator and mentor.
“Faisal Abdu’Allah has established himself not only as a groundbreaking and respected artist who has shown his work across the world, but he has also proven himself to be an outstanding teacher to our students at UW–Madison,” says School of Education Dean Diana Hess. “I am so pleased to announce that Faisal is receiving the prestigious Chazen Family Distinguished Chair in Art.”
Abdu’Allah is a graduate of the Royal College of Art in London, where he was trained as a printmaker. His work often evolves out of the interface of photography, printed media, film, installation, and performance. This art has been exhibited widely, including at: the National Maritime Museum London (2020); Foto Fest, Houston (2020); Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno, Gran Canaria, Spain (2019); Somerset House, London; Pā Rongorongo, Auckland, New Zealand (2019); and the 55th Venice Biennale, Italy (2013). His works are also in the collections of Tate Britain (London), the V&A (London), the Chazen Museum (UW–Madison), CAAM (Gran Canaria, Spain), and the British Arts Council.
Abdu’Allah, who also is a barber, is currently being featured in Red Bull Television’s “The Fade.” A preview of the film explains how “the barber’s chair can mean so much more than a simple shave or haircut. Barbers from the U.S., UK, Ghana, and Jamaica show how their profession helps define culture, community, and masculinity.”
Abdu’Allah is also working on launching upcoming projects with Sir David Adjaye, the Ghanaian-British architect, and Quarra Stone Company in Madison. This work will be showcased in the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA). In the past, he has collaborated with fashion designer Virgil Abloh and choreographer Frank Gatson Jr. He also has written articles for Artimage, Te Tuhi, and Create London.
In addition to being a faculty member with UW–Madison’s Art Department, Abdu’Allah also is faculty director of The Studio, a residential learning community at UW–Madison. He is an honorary visiting professor at the University of Bedfordshire (United Kingdom).
“Faisal Abdu’Allah is an artist who works in printmaking, photography, performance, and sculpture. He is genuinely interdisciplinary with his creative output in prints, photographs, installations, and performances,” says UW–Madison’s Derrick Buisch, a professor and chair of the Art Department. “Abdu’Allah is well versed in the international conversation of contemporary art. His work addresses resonant political and social themes with poetic depth. His future creative research is exciting, with excellent potential for generating more innovative and original works.”