Born in Karachi, Pakistan, artist Abdullah M.I. Syed currently travels between Karachi and Sydney, Australia, to live and work. He co-coordinated the Design Department at the University of Karachi and has lectured there. He is currently completing his Ph.D. at the College of Fine Arts in Sydney. Syed works in a variety of mediums and techniques, including print-screening. His art explores current social issues and commentary, tackling controversial topics such as the War on Terror, immigration, and Western attitudes towards the East. He has participated in the Britto artists’ workshop and held an artist residency at Cicada Press. He has also co-curated exhibitions, notably Michael Esson: A Survey of Drawing, Michael Kempson: A Survey of Prints, Aboriginal Dreams and Let’s Draw the Line in Karachi.
Syed’s silk-screened prints here derive inspiration from Dante’s verse ‘to square the circle’ from Paradiso, the third part of the Divine Comedy. By appropriating and deconstructing circular objects and symbols on embossed graph lines—silk-screening skull-caps used for prayer in the case of Flare I and Flare II—Syed approximates and departs from Dante’s metaphorical statement. The re-contextualized elements in his work celebrate hybridity, pluralism, and up-rootedness.