Born in Banda Aceh in 1960, Mahdi Abdullah is one of Indonesia’s most significant painters. He graduated from Faculty of Architecture in Banda Aceh (1988) before earning his master degree at Indonesian Art Institute Yogyakarta in 2012. His works use realism to depict his anxieties about the social reality that he has witnessed while focusing on the life of common people from his hometown. At first, the images might look calm and peaceful but there’s dualism existing in each work.
“It is an introspection, an inventory of his thoughts and feelings that he found inside. Sometimes they’re dreamy, poetic, sometimes mirroring fears and terror, leaving the plane of realism and opening almost surrealist dimensions,”-quoted from art writer Anton Larenz about Mahdi’s realist approach.
He has several exhibitions locally and internationally, with his works present in various collections from museums, galleries and private collectors abroad.