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Currency of Love



Abdullah M I Syed

Pakistan, Australia

1974 –

No image
  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    22 pigment prints, hand-cut bank notes, 24 carat gold leaf
    display dimensions variable :

    a - Part a, 13 x 18 cm

    b - Part b, 13 x 18 cm

    c - Part c, 13 x 18 cm

    d - Part d, 13 x 18 cm

    e - Part 3, 13 x 18 cm

    f - Part f, 13 x 18 cm

    g - Part g, 13 x 18 cm

    h - Part h, 13 x 18 cm

    i - Part i, 13 x 18 cm

    j - Part j, 13 x 18 cm

    k - Part k, 13 x 18 cm

    l - Part l, 13 x 18 cm

    m - Part m, 13 x 18 cm

    n - Part n, 13 x 18 cm

    o - Part o, 13 x 18 cm

    p - Part p, 13 x 18 cm

    q - Part q, 13 x 18 cm

    r - Part r, 13 x 18 cm

    s - Part s, 13 x 18 cm

    t - Part t, 13 x 18 cm

    u - Part u, 13 x 18 cm

    v - Part v, 13 x 18 cm

    Purchased with funds provided by the Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2021
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Abdullah M I Syed
    Artist information
    Abdullah M I Syed

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Abdullah M I Syed characterises his interdisciplinary art practice as a form of manzoom muzahamat, or poetic resistance, a form of activism that seeks to combat socio-political conflicts, apathy and disillusionment through ideas of shared vulnerability, love, care and storytelling. Utilizing a variety of mediums and techniques, he examines economic structures and the theatrics of power and masculinity in their myriad forms.

    Materials are reactive agents within his artistic processes, purposefully entangling audiences in a web of social connections and experiences. This is no different in the body of work ‘Currency of Love’, where bank notes are divested of their fiscal power and take on an emotional resonance.

    In ‘Currency of Love’, Syed painstakingly mends prints of fallen or decayed leaves taken from his late mother’s money plants, Epipremnum aureum. Syed’s mother Azra Waseem ‘adopted’ these plants when her four sons relocated overseas in their pursuit of education or other professional prospects. Syed speculates that the plants allowed Waseem to nurture and care for something in the absence of her sons.

    Rather than taking fresh leaves from the plants to create new work, Syed mimicked his mother’s tending techniques by only harvesting leaves that were ready to be removed. Once the leaves were photographed and printed, Syed then ‘repaired’ each one with 24-carat gold leaf – an act that draws on the Japanese art of kintsugi. Much like a patchwork textile, the missing segments are also restored with a collage of new and old banknotes, some of which were gifted to the artist by friends, colleagues, collectors, and his mother.

    Such repairs draw on the role of the rafoogar (darner) as the mender of damaged cloth in South Asian art and Islamic mysticism. For Syed, this act intimately evidences his mother’s labour, dedication and care for her sons. It also acknowledges the sacrifices she made to support Syed as an artist.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

Other works by Abdullah M I Syed