|Sabsabi said the exhibition is informed by tasawwuf, more widely known as Sufism, a practice within Islam where the ordinary presents opportunities for moments of heightened spirituality, and where the individual coalesces with the collective in a symbiotic relationship.
“A Promise offers my perspective on the world. It is a personal map of sorts that traces the complex relationship between the self and other, belief, devotion and the possibilities for transcendence,” Sabasbi said.
“In our daily lives a promise is an assurance that is enlivened by an action. It is something made by one to another and confirmed through shared understanding. This exhibition reflects on how a promise embodies hope and trust, but also anxiety and relief as it is either kept or broken,” Sabsabi said.
Art Gallery of NSW curator of Asian art Matt Cox developed the exhibition with Sabsabi which presents a select group of works that articulates the diversity of the artist’s practice.
“From 70 000 veils 2004-14, a 92-channel video designed to be viewed through 3D glasses that took ten years to make, to the handcrafted gesture of welcome, Sanjak 2002-12, a sacred and ceremonial banner, A Promise reveals Khaled’s varied yet unified artistic vision.
“At the heart of the exhibition is Organised confusion 2014, a multi-channel video work that explores heightened states of consciousness and pop fanaticism, ritual and devotion through Sabsabi’s filming of the Western Sydney Wanderers football fans, known as the Red and Black Bloc (RBB). Alongside this is a sequence of black-and-white videos of Javanese dancer Agung Gunawan performing a dance evoking a state of spiritual transformation,” Cox said.
A Promise at the Art Gallery of NSW is the first in a series of exhibitions, the second, A Hope: Khaled Sabsabi, will take place at Campbelltown Art Centre in 2021.
This exhibition series is produced in partnership with the Campbelltown Art Centre and the artist, Khaled Sabsabi.