Leslie Morgan La Trobe University
Muslims, and other transnationals including migrants, international students, refugees and temporary workers, are part of the global flows of people across borders whose new homes are the urban spaces of globalized cities. Their marginalization by the host communities in cities in Australia and Europe is a feature of these globalized cities; hence their cultural production is an expression of this condition. While global cities are celebrated for their cosmopolitan mix of diverse transnationals engaged in a range of intercultural transactions, this chapter explores how the city shapes the bodies, experiences, identity and art of those at the dark end of the city street’ who are subject to the forces of social and economic marginalization. It addresses the art of Abdul-Hamid Bin Ibrahim Bin Abdullah (hereafter called Abdullah) a young Muslim artist from West Australia, as an indicator of these conditions.
While dualistic notions of the city as divided along black/white, wealthy/poor, straight/ gay lines are insufficient to explain their complex intersectionality, it is also true that cities today [can] seem fragmented, partitioned – at the extreme, almost drawn and quartered, painfully pulled apart’ (Marcuse 2008: 270). As such, race, migration and ethnicity emerge as important factors in the urban spaces of the city since people are pulled apart in terms of poverty and wealth, ethnicity and power. This discussion considers how urban city spaces impact upon the artists who have moved countries, either by force or voluntarily, into a new urban space. They are often out of place and out of language and are connected to other spaces, sometimes also globalized and urban. Hence the creative works produced by these artists are an expression of their condition of making art outside the imagined, white community of Australia. Here, the focus is on how one such artist negotiates his belonging in Australia through his art as a form of protest against being racially marked in globalized and urban spaces. In so doing, he engages with the discourse of Australian multiculturalism in order to offer a critique of it.
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