Ian Abdulla is regarded as ‘Australia’s greatest naïve artist’ and his unmistakable style holds a unique place in contemporary First Nations art history. His works of art are held in esteemed collections around the world, including the British Museum and Mendel Art Gallery in Canada.
Abdulla’s paintings are vivid recollections of moments from his childhood during the 1950s and 60s, relating to his homeland along the Murray River between Cobdogla and Katarapko. In handwritten and visual storytelling his work captures the wealth of enjoyment his family experienced in the face of material hardship, while documenting the social history of the area. Abdulla is famed for his ability to honestly portray joyous moments amid experiences of poverty, dispossession and marginalisation, an experience shared by many First Nations people around Australia.
Adelaide Festival Centre is proud to be home to two of Abdulla’s banner style paintings Drinking, Fishing and Swimming (Down by the River) and Stone the Snakes. Each work connects to regional South Australia and its major waterway.
Gift of City of Adelaide through Adelaide Festival Centre Foundation 2003
Adelaide Festival Centre Works of Art Collection