Shadi Al-Atallah

Overview

Their work explores the performativity of cathartic spiritual practice by drawing connections between the Queer ballroom scene and folkloric dance traditions from African diasporic communities in the Arabian Peninsula. 

Shadi Al-Atallah was born in Saudi Arabia in 1994 and currently lives and works in London, UK. They received their MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art in 2021. Al-Atallah creates large-scale figurative paintings: the dark and dynamic figures depicted in their mixed-media work are distorted self-portraits of the artist that capture the absurdity of conflicting emotional states. Their work explores the performativity of cathartic spiritual practice by drawing connections between the Queer ballroom scene and folkloric dance traditions from African diasporic communities in the Arabian Peninsula. 

 

Working in rapid motions and strokes, Shadi works fast to avoid their thoughts slipping, contending with their own cognition and memory. Each painting documents a single hazy moment in time, examining the space between the mundane and the spiritual.


Shadi makes use of paint to escape from the constraints of language. Painting allows them to invent genderless figures, ones that embody an ambiguity that language rarely grants. This ambiguity is used to question Shadi’s own ideas on gender and sexuality. Obscurity also allows breathing room for the viewer to connect with the artwork.

Works
Biography

B. in Saudi Arabia, 1994. Based in London, UK. 

 

Education 

2018 - 2021 MA Painting, Royal College of Art, London (UK) 

2013 -2018 BA Illustration, University of the Arts, London (UK) 

 

Solo Exhibitions

2021 I Lost the Title On the Plane, Guts Gallery 

2019 Fuck I’m Stuck, J Hammond Projects, London (UK) 

2018 Roadblocks, Cob Gallery, London (UK)

 

Group Exhibitions

2021  Queer Circle, Victoria Miro x Out Collective, London (UK)  

2021 Reality Check, Guts Gallery, London (UK)  

2021 A New Art World, Guts Gallery, London (UK)

2021, Introducing, Guts Gallery at The Shop at Sadie Coles HQ, (UK)

2020 Begin Again, Guts Gallery, London (UK)  

2020 Paintings on, and, with paper, Cob Gallery, London (UK) 

2020 When Shit Hits the Fan, Guts Gallery, London (UK) 

2020 NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT, Public Gallery, London (UK) 

2020 Alter Ego, Unit London, London, (UK) 

2020 Without a Painter, The Fitzrovia Gallery, London, (UK) 

 2019 The Head The Hand, Blank Projects, Cape Town, (South Africa)  

2019 Sharks, Swim Gallery, San Francisco, (US) 

2019 Absinthe, Collectivending, Spit and Sawdsut, London, (UK) 

2018 AFROPUNK x 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning Present: People Art  Resistance, London (UK) 

2018 LDN WMN, Tate Collective, public commission, London, (UK) 

2018 BBZ BLK BK, Copeland Gallery, London (UK) 

 

Talks/Events/Projects

2020 Eating at the Same Table x Fuck I’m Stuck, London (UK) 

2019 The Art of Creativity, Tate Britain, London (UK) 

2019 CommuneEAST x The Curtain Hotel, London (UK) 

2019 “Intersect”, Cambridge Univeristy Queens’ Art Festival, Cambridge, (UK) 

2019 “Gender Fuckery in Contemporary British Art” at b.Dewitt Gallery 

2019, London, (UK) 2019 CommuneEAST x Selfridges, London, (UK) 

2018 Insights: Beyond Gender, Tate Modern, (UK)

Press
Exhibitions
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