New artist chosen for Arden station wants to bring communities together

New artist chosen for Arden station wants to bring communities together
Brendan Rees

The artist chosen to create an installation piece for the new Arden underground railway station says his work will capture the essence of different communities “coming together”.  

Sydney-based Abdul Abdullah is a multi-disciplinary Australian artist whose work focuses on the ideas of otherness and the experiences of marginalised communities.

The 36-year-old, who has previously lived in Melbourne, said he was “very happy and honoured” to be announced as the artist to deliver the permanent art installation for Arden Station which will be located near the corner of Arden and Laurens streets.

“What’s particularly exciting to me about Arden Station and where it’s located is how it’s going to serve as a whole lot of different communities,” he said.

“That’s going to be a point which everyone travels through, and to welcome new communities and to encourage the idea of coming together; that idea of different communities from different walks of life or merging into one space.”

The project is still in the development phase, a process involving a team of architects and engineers, with the final art piece expected to be revealed before the opening of the Metro Tunnel in 2025.  

Abdul, a seventh-generation Muslim Australian with Malay/Indonesian and convict/settler Australian heritage, said he would draw inspiration from North Melbourne’s rich industrial history and pre-colonial period while celebrating the area’s natural environment.


“Looking at the role of art in very specific ways is like having a responsibility to the society that it serves so that’s what drives my art practice, and that idea of working in a public sphere and that scale is very exciting,” he said.


“I spent so much time on public transport as a young person and I want to make those spaces as welcoming as possible.”

Abdul’s work has been featured in numerous exhibitions including at the National Gallery of Australia, Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2019, he was awarded the inaugural Australian Muslim Artist Art Prize.

He mainly works as a painter, but also dabbles in sculpture, embroidery, photography, and occasionally, performance. 

The artwork for Arden Station and its architectural design features has been touted to become a new landmark. The station will include a café with terraces for outdoor dining as well as public seating, garden beds and lawn areas.

Abdul, along with five other world-class artists, were invited to create artworks for each of the Metro Tunnel’s new underground stations following a rigorous process by an expert advisory panel including leading figures from Victoria’s creative industries.

They join Yorta Yorta/Wamba Wamba/Mutti Mutti/Boonwurrung artist Maree Clarke, who was announced in 2020 as the artist commissioned for a work spanning all five new underground stations.

“It’s one of things until we actually start making it, it doesn’t feel real,” Abdul said. “It feels like an abstract thing at the moment, but all the gears are turning and I’m looking forward to starting production.” •


Caption: Sydney-based Abdul Abdullah wants his artwork at Arden Station to bring communities together.

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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