This event is a response to Faisal Abdu’Allah’s exhibition the Duppy Conqueror and Other Works, which is currently showing at Autograph ABP. Abdu’Allah’s exhibition features a gold plated barber’s chair and clippers, which touches on the mediation of intimacy and vulnerability between men. In these two new sculptural works, both commissioned by Autograph ABP, the artist’s studio and the barber’s salon are formally joined as ‘indistinguishable spaces of cultural activity and as sites for new reflections’. Gold-plated, evocatively lit and installed in a discrete gallery room painted black, these life-size works refer to the importance of the barbershop as a gathering place for black men, where an exchange of news and views occurs, a space in which to come of age and a rite of passage, as well as where intimacy and vulnerability between men are possible.
Abdu’Allah maintains a profession as a barber alongside his artistic and academic practice,.The ritual of cutting and cultivating hair informs his work – alongside the role black hair performs in foregrounding cultural difference, and the proliferation of storytelling throughout the process – that provides a means by which to bring these two different worlds together.