Abdullah Qureshi: We were never meant to survive

Wed – Sat, 12 – 5pm

Preview 21 May, 5 – 8pm


An exhibition of work by Abdullah Qureshi, a Pakistan-born artist, curator, and educator.

Rooted in traditions of abstraction, Qureshi incorporates gestural, poetic, and hybrid methodologies to address autobiography, trauma and sexuality, through painting, filmmaking, and immersive events.

Drawing from childhood memories, everyday surroundings, and intimate encounters, recurring motifs in his two-dimensional work are interior objects, abstract landscapes, and faceless portraits. In moving image and durational projects, the artist situates artistic concerns from the personal into more expansive conversations on critical histories, visual culture, and social justice. His films take a camp performance-based approach to portray scenes, symbols, and non-linear narratives that extend his visual language, questions on identity, and queer genealogies outside the Western canon.

Working with long-term collaborators, Qureshi’s curating, cultural programming, pedagogy, and writings further articulate his inquiries in feminist, LGBTIQ2S+, decolonial, anti-racist, and migratory discourses. Centring Black and People of Colour perspectives, he engages collective modes of creative thinking, organisation, and production. Through his ongoing doctoral project, Mythological Migrations: Imagining Queer Muslim Utopias, he examines formations of queer identity and resistance in Muslim migratory contexts.

Abdullah Qureshi (b. 1987, Lahore) has exhibited internationally, including at the National Gallery of Art, Islamabad; Alhamra Art Gallery, Lahore; Rossi & Rossi, London; Berlinische Galerie, Berlin; Twelve Gates Arts, Philadelphia; and SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco. He has held numerous positions at cultural and educational institutions, including the British Council Pakistan and National College of Arts, Lahore. Qureshi has conducted lectures, paper readings, and artist talks around the world, including at the Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU), Prague; Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki; PRAKSIS, Oslo; Residency Unlimited, New York; University of California, Irvine; Valand Academy, Gothenburg; and Fábrica de Arte Cubano, Havana.

In 2017, Qureshi received the Art and International Cooperation fellowship at Zurich University of the Arts, and in 2018, a research fellowship at the Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research, Boston. In 2019, he joined the Centre for Feminist Research, York University, Toronto, as a visiting graduate student. Qureshi is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Aalto University, Espoo, and Lecturer in Fine Art: Contemporary Practices at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne.


Orbis Community 65 High Street Gateshead NE8 2AP

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Until 15 June 2024


  • Wed 12 – 5pm
  • Thu 12 – 5pm
  • Fri 12 – 5pm
  • Sat 12 – 5pm
  • One step access to front door: portable ramp available

Selected works

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