By Sara Elhassan (@bsonblast)
Born and raised in Saudi Arabia, Abdallah Abbas describes himself as being “just like any other Sudanese third culture kid”. His art exhibits just that - a clever mélange of cultures with Sudan at its heart, exuding soulfulness beyond his 22 years.
Abbas’ first visit to Sudan was in 2012, at the age of 18. “That trip was life changing, a wake up call that sparked something in me that has been missing during a large part of my developing years.” It also marked the beginning of his foray into art. As he tells it, Abbas’ visit prompted him to create works that reflected all of what he saw and experienced, which went far beyond the stereotypical images of Sudan seen in the media. “My first pieces were inspired by the pioneering wave of Arabic artists such as Hassan Hajjaj, Shaweesh, Ali Cha'aban, and Fida Alhussan”.
His style ranges from collages and videos to stenciled street art, which he shares on Tumblr and Instagram. The digital medium provides him the convenience to create art wherever he is, while the internet gives him access to a wider audience.
“My works revolve heavily around Sudan and cultural references that the youth would find appealing, and simultaneously be widely understood.” Pieces like “Seed Al-Laban in New York”, with its traditional Sudanese milkman atop his donkey surrounded by the skyscrapers of the Big Apple, and “Padawans”, which features Hedandawa warriors battling it out with light sabers, are perfect examples of this – quintessentially Sudanese images seamlessly blended with easily recognizable elements of pop culture.
“I felt like it was my responsibility to change the perception of Sudan, especially being a person who’s standing outside looking through using pop-culture as globally understood language to repaint Sudan as its true essence."
You can find Abdallah Abbas’ work on his Tumblr page and on Instagram @abdallah_abbas