Abdul-Rahman Abdullah and Nur Shkembi. Photo: Josie Withers

Safdar Ahmed

Eugenia Flynn

Hoda Afshar

Sunday 4 March, 1.30pm-3pm

Abdul-Rahman Abdullah (curator)
Hoda Afshar
Safdar Ahmed (facilitator)
Eugenia Flynn
Nur Shkembi (curator)


Free, no bookings required

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Join eleven collective curators and writers Safdar Ahmed, Nur Shkembi, Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Hoda Afshar and Eugenia Flynn for a conversation examining the central themes presented in Waqt al-tagheer: Time of change. Facilitated by Safdar Ahmed, the panellists will discuss how the themes of identity, time and lived experience influence their work in the exhibition, and how the collective aims to channel the dynamism and complexity of contemporary Muslim Australian life through art and creative practice.

This panel discussion will mark the official launch of the exhibition publication and will be introduced by Liz Nowell, CEO of ACE Open.

ABDUL-RAHMAN ABDULLAH is a West Australian artist whose practice explores the different ways that memory can inhabit and emerge from familial spaces. Drawing on the narrative capacity of animal archetypes, crafted objects and the human presence, Abdullah aims to articulate physical dialogues between the natural world and the agency of culture. While his own experiences as a Muslim Australian of mixed ethnicity provide a starting point, Abdullah seeks to define shared understandings of individual identity, new mythologies and marginalised outlooks. Living and working in a rural environment Abdullah provides a unique perspective across intersecting and disparate communities. Abdul-Rahman Abdullah graduated from Curtin University with a BFA in 2012. His work is held in various collections including Artbank, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia and Wesfarmers. He is a current board member of Perth Institute of Contemporary Art.

HODA AFSHAR was born in Tehran, Iran, and is now based in Melbourne, Australia. She completed a Bachelor degree in Fine Art–Photography in Tehran and began her career as a photographer in 2005. Since 2007, Hoda has been living in Australia where she practices as a visual artist and also lectures in photography. She is currently completing a PhD in Creative Arts at Curtin University. Hoda’s photography has been widely exhibited both locally and internationally and published online and in print. Her work is also part of numerous private and public collections including the National Gallery of Victoria’s. Hoda has been shortlisted for many prestigious art awards throughout her career and in 2015 she won Australia’s National Photographic Portrait Prize. Hoda is also a member of ‘Eleven’, a new collective of contemporary Muslim Australian artists, curators and writers whose aim is to disrupt the current politics of representation and hegemonic discourses. Through her art practice, Hoda reflects on issues related to the politics of representation, gender and displacement. Her work aims to open lines of communication in a world both homogenized by global economy and unsettled by mass migration.

SAFDAR AHMED is a Sydney-based artist and academic. In 2010 he completed his PhD with the Department of Arabic and Islamic studies at the University of Sydney. His dissertation, which linked the work of various Muslim reformist thinkers to contemporary paradigms of modernity, was published by IB Tauris beneath the title Reform and Modernity in Islam. Before that, Safdar completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Sydney’s National Art School. He works largely in the mediums of drawing, comics and watercolour. He is a founding member of the Refugee Art Project, for which he conducts art workshops with refugees and asylum seekers in detention. This organization was founded to facilitate art workshops for detained asylum seekers, and to display their work in public exhibitions. The Refugee Art Project aims to deepen public understanding about the asylum seeker issue and the realities of Australia’s detention regime. In 2015 Safdar won a Walkley Award in the Artwork category for his documentary webcomic, Villawood: Notes from an Immigration Detention Centre.

EUGENIA FLYNN is a writer, arts worker and community organiser. Eugenia runs the blog Black Thoughts Live Here and her thoughts on the politics of race, identity, gender and culture have been published widely. Eugenia identifies as Aboriginal (Tiwi and Larrakia), Chinese Malaysian and Muslim, working within her multiple communities to create change through literature, art, politics and community development.

NUR SHKEMBI is a Melbourne based curator and writer. Nur has been part of the team establishing the Islamic Museum of Australia since 2010, and until recently served as the museum’s Art Director, Exhibitions Manager and foundation Curator. Over the past decade, Nur has produced more than 150 events, exhibitions and community engagement projects and has served on numerous boards and committees. Nur currently serves on the Vic Arts Visual Arts Advisory panel, including Chair of Theatre, at Creative Victoria for the Department of Premiere and Cabinet. Nur is an academic teacher and sessional lecturer for the Masters of Curatorship course at the University of Melbourne where she is also a research assistant. She is a published author, with her debut novel Rookie distributed nationwide for the Australian high school curriculum. Her writing is also featured in the National Gallery of Victoria’s Gallery magazine and the international arts magazine ReOrient and she is an assistant editor for the material conservation journal AICCM Bulletin.