Khaled Sabsabi - A Self Portrait


A Self Portrait is the biggest survey exhibition of Sabsabi’s work to date and features a new commission as well as several works not previously exhibited.

In Brief

Dates: Aug 04 - Oct 07, 2018
Venue / Address:
51 James St, Perth

In Detail

Working across mediums, borders, cultures, and disciplines, Khaled Sabsabi explores the complexities of place, identity, displacement, and ideological differences associated with migrant experiences and marginalisation to promote cultural awareness and acceptance.

Lebanese born and Australian based, Sabsabi’s practice is informed by moving between communities, and attempts to enlighten our understanding of universal dynamics – a more complex and unknowable task than looking into our own identities.

On Saturday 4 August, you are invited to join us to hear from Khaled Sabsabi and view a performance inspired by Amalia Pica’s work, Catalogue of great ape gestures (in alphabetical order).

1pm 2-pm. Please RSVP here
In Conversation with Khaled Sabsabi
Hear PICA’s Senior Curator, Eugenio Viola in conversation with Khaled Sabsabi.
Eugenio will chat with Khaled about his artistic practice and his exhibition A Self Portrait.

Curated by PICA Senior Curator Eugenio Viola, the exhibition features a selection of his works over an eleven year period, including those not previously exhibited and an entirely new piece, after which the exhibition is titled.

Sabsabi, who first exhibited at PICA in the 2005 Hatched National Graduate Show exhibition, has come full circle with this mid-career select survey that follows his recent acclaim at the 21st Biennale of Sydney and the 2018 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art.

Following the outbreak of civil war in Lebanon (1975-1990), Sabsabi migrated with his family to Australia in 1978. Since the late 1980s, he has been working with communities on projects promoting cultural awareness and acceptance through the exploration of place, identity, displacement and marginalisation.

Sabsabi’s work uses a variety of media, including video, photography, painting, textiles and multifaceted installations. It is heavily informed by Sufi spirituality, his own experience of moving between communities and geopolitical factors. A focal point for the exhibition at PICA is Sabsabi’s latest work, A self- portrait, comprising 114 individual pieces, each consisting of seven different layers, signifying the seven different segments of the ‘Nafs’ (Arabic, Persian and Urdu for ‘the self’).

Also on display will be a 4 metre wide hand embroidered ‘sanjaq’, a sacred cloth used for important Sufi rituals and ceremonies. Each Sufi order has many unique sanjaq cloths and the map embroidered on this sanjaq references the lineage of the various but interconnected Sufi orders of Sabsabi’s ancestors. The sanjaq also relates to two cities: Tripoli in Lebanon, where Sabsabi was born, and Danke in North Lebanon, which are both regarded as important centres for mystic Sufi orders and their histories. This work, Corner, brings into focus an understanding of how diverse geographies and philosophies can be linked through the movement and spiritual practice of people and place.

“We are living in an upsurge of intolerance at every level, and too often people wrongfully connect terrorism with Islam,” says Senior Curator Eugenio Viola. “Khaled, like other Muslims around the world, is spreading awareness that Islam is a religion of peace. I hope this exhibition will help our understanding of the Islamic world.”