Faisal Abdu’Allah: Blu³eprint
FAISAL ABDU’ALLAH: BLU³EPRINT
Carved from limestone and measuring almost seven feet in height, Blu³eprint depicts artist Faisal Abdu’Allah seated in a Belmont barber’s chair, a nod to the significance of the barbershop both within his artistic practice and his personal history. For Abdu’Allah, a trained barber, the barbershop reflects the Black experience as a place of physical renewal and social solidarity for generations of men.
Abdu’Allah selected the title to express the communal power associated with the Black salon. The artist made the “u” in “Blu³eprint” to the power of three, to reflect the three “u’s” in the Zulu word “Ubuntu.” Ubuntu is an African concept referring to the interconnected nature of humanity. It communicates the idea that we are human only through the humanity of others, or, “I am because we are.”
Abdu’Allah’s pose may be familiar to some. It mirrors a sculpture that has been an enduring feature of Madison’s public art landscape—Abraham Lincoln (1909), a bronze monument by Adolph Weinman situated atop the University of Wisconsin’s Bascom Hill. In recent years, the monument has generated controversy among some UW students who argue that President Lincoln’s anti-immigrant policies and his belief, despite his opposition to slavery, in white racial superiority means that the monument should be removed.
Abdu’Allah conceived of Blu³eprint as a counter-monument to the Lincoln sculpture—a contemporary work erected as a counterpoint to an existing monument. “My philosophy is that artists have always been the shapers of social consciousness, and for me this piece illustrates that,” Abdu’Allah said.
The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art commissioned Blu³eprint, which was fabricated at Quarra Stone Company in Madison. Blu³eprint is the initial phase of Faisal Abdu’Allah’s upcoming exhibition at MMoCA titled DARK MATTER, which opens in September 2022.
Faisal Abdu’Allah is Professor of Printmaking and Associate Dean for the Arts in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he was named the Chazen Family Distinguished Chair in Art in 2021.
Presenting Sponsorship for Faisal Abdu’Allah: DARK MATTER has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional support has been provided by Dane Arts with additional funds from the Endres Mfg. Company Foundation, the Evjue Foundation, Inc., charitable arm of the Capital Times, the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation, and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation.