Sabsabi does not aestheticise war, nor does he take sides, but at the core of his diverse artistic practice lies a commitment to social justice. His art reflects both his background as an immigrant Australian as well as his professional work with youth communities in Western Sydney, in which he often deals with issues of violence, racism and discrimination.
Andrew Yip | Khaled Sabsabi: Peacefender | Artlink | 2015 | DOWNLOAD
70,000 Veils will ask us to explore questions we are sometimes afraid to ask. This inspiring work is humbling in its omission to the finite experience of art to the infinite.
Kon Gouriotis | Khaled Sabsabi and the Infinite | 2014 | DOWNLOAD
Sabsabi, spent over 7 years collating 10,000 images of his everyday life, of his travels, which he assembled into 70,000 photoshopped images. He then worked tirelessly for three and half years to create 3 D videos, each which runs for 700 seconds.
Minu Ittyipe | Third Edition of Kochi Muziris Biennale Opens | Outlook | 2016 | DOWNLOAD
I was directly confronted with the realities that I was just another privileged tourist, high on romantic notions of belonging and childhood memories. Also because here I was working my life away in another place and land for art, social awareness and justice, forgetting my people’s situations and their suffered hardships
Khaled Sabsabi | Personal Reflections | 2016 | DOWNLOAD
Since the late 1980s I've worked to present arts projects that explore the experience of people across social, political and ideological spectrums... I am interested in associations that continue from a source, bringing into focus an understanding of how diverse conversations could be connected through the traditions and stories of people.
Khaled Sabsabi | National Artists’ Self-Portrait Prize | 2013 | DOWNLOAD
The rap notes and personal archive of artist Khaled Sabsabi tell stories of a personal journey to freedom from asylum, involving hardship along the way; even though religion or social positions entail discrimination and isolation, freedom is the final destination. In his archive, photographic portraits of Sabsabi are placed alongside a t-shirt designed by the artist showing a print of Osama Bin Laden and a poster for the freedom of Palestine amongst other objects.
| Taboo | 2012 | DOWNLOAD
Like a kaleidoscope, the footage of the everyday city becomes fractured and refracted into highly complex geometric works, where the specificity of each location collapses into an abstract yet highly acculturated vision of urban and suburban spaces that clash and collapse expectations regarding place and identity. There is a spiritual dimension to these works, a quest to explore the parallels and points of connection between the certainties of the physical and the uncertainties of the human and emotional, capturing adaptation in action and the ebb and flow of cities and culture over time.
| The Floating Eye – 9th Shanghai Biennale | 2012 | DOWNLOAD
The 'return' of objects with 'low' cultural value to the space of the museum - such as shoes used by Sabsabi and Saouli in Oversite - creates a possibility for articulating difference in historical representation through audience participation. This possibility refers to both the expansion of the meaning of the object in the gallery - from functional to subjective - and the status of the audience's experience. This notion of audience experience entails attention to shoes as objects disengaged from their everyday function to layer different meanings and temporalities and produce moments of experiential tension. The tension was to result from the double reflection of shoes as both symbols of everyday routine (and the implicit complacency), and in their (voluntary) removal from that community.
Uros Cvoro | Oversite | 2007 | DOWNLOAD
Hizbullah is perceived by some as an organisation that is completely of its time, and by employing digital effects Sabsabi makes precisely this point in his video artwork. Sabsabi is not Shi'ite and yet, like so many Lebanese, domestic and diasporic, he was impressed by the leading role that Hizbullah played in resisting the IDF.
David McNeill | of middle eastern appearance | 2008 | DOWNLOAD
He also knows that many Australians could not even point to Lebanon on a map, much less offer an informed opinion on a region that is, after all, a very long way away. Fortunately he has the capacity (like so many good artists) to distill complex issues into a few carefully chosen and striking visual metaphors or forms.
David McNeill | Making it New: Focus on Contemporary Australian Art | 2009 | DOWNLOAD
Systems of faith are central to Sabsabi's work more generally: their symmetries, symbols and forms; their basis in long histories of culture and place; their centrality to the fostering of understanding between peoples and, conversely, to flashpoints of conflict and violence; and - critically - their role in the everyday life of communities.
Blair French | MCA Collection | 2016 | DOWNLOAD
Sabsabi's installation captures the profound aesthetics of beauty, ugliness and all what lies in-between, revealing the inherent polycultural nature of Australia. But much more than that, there is a meaning that can be grasped when one gets too close to the close-ups. Each screen is sovereign. It embodies its own facial allocation as well as seamlessly being part of a face.
Farid Farid | Integration Assimilation and Fair Go for ALL | 2009 | DOWNLOAD
In This Together reminds us that spaces of art are zones of conflict; designed to simultaneously legitimise and challenge cultural identity. Many works reflect on conflicts in the Middle East, presenting a seemingly distant political conflict within the Australian cultural institution.
Chrisoula Lionis | In This Together | 2009 | DOWNLOAD
This exhibition, then, is about borders and boundaries, both physical and conceptual. More precisely, it is about the pressure imposed on borders in a world that becomes more fluid and interconnected day by day. To state the obvious, borders are an artifice designed to both include and exclude.
Dr. David McNeill | The Resilient Landscape | 2007 | DOWNLOAD
This difference means a tension - an agitated site from which to develop new ways of working to remain useful and relevant to the process... in a highly driven globalisation world state with all its cultural competitiveness and capitalism, an artist has no choice but to remain relevant and useful... This means the artistic ability to create, fold, disappear, unfold and reappear where it is not expected.
Khaled Sabsabi | A CCD Project in Beirut | 2004 | DOWNLOAD
Sabsabi's installation captures the profound aesthetics of beauty, ugliness and all that lies in between, which doesn't allow a separate and defined cultural reading of an individual.
Lisa Havilah | the true life of khaled sabsabi | 2009 | DOWNLOAD
In Arabic duty is described as waajib. Sabsabi's waajib dictates his responsibility to be fully committed and not to ignore the situations of the people around him. This commitment manifests across Sabsabi's work which continues to show the interconnectedness of everyday life with broader culture and politics.
Lisa Havilah | The Infinity of Khaled Sabsabi | 2012 | DOWNLOAD
Sabsabi's Syria is a provocation to those who hold an entirely reasonable expectation that a label exists to act as a logical descriptor of its referent. Let's be clear: Syria is not about Syria. The work signals Sabsabi's fascination with the ways by which beneath the surface of things there can exist a metaphorical structure opposed to that surface.
Pedro de Almeida | Syria | 2012 | DOWNLOAD
MUSH is a blurring of humanity pointing towards the essence of life, the transitory yet repeating potential of existence. The deconstructed image-sound narratives become a means of restoring the idea of the universe's infinite potential.
Dr Michelle Antoinette | MUSH | 2012 | DOWNLOAD
Wonderland places the viewer in the exact moment where places converge. A two-channel video depicts jeering crowds at a soccer match, the fans cheer and sledge in uncanny similarity; they wear the same colours, sing the same songs, hold the same banners and are both supporters of the Western Sydney Wanderers. However, while their allegiance is aligned, Sabsabi forces the viewer to discriminate between the two. In Majority/Minority the sound for Wonderland is overpowering. Standing between two speakers the cheers melt into an unbearable dissonance where the only relief is to move towards one side and, in essence, to pick a side.
Mikala Tai | The precariousness of placemaking | 2016 | DOWNLOAD
War is ugly and yet, paradoxically, images do not necessarily make it so. From antiquity until now, scenes of war are embedded with an attractiveness that appeals to humanity's darker, more atavistic appetite. To take brush and paint to these intimately-scaled facsimiles of the real, as the artist does, is to both acknowledge this and attempt to re-order its depressing logic.
Pedro de Almeida | Guerilla | 2016 | DOWNLOAD
Sabsabi undoes eschatological and esoteric binaries of the sacred and profane, the secular and religious, the blasphemous and divine, the body and soul, through a technical brilliance infused with a theopolitical sensibility. Across 99 unevenly distributed television screens Sabsabi captures the embodied intricacies of a nameless dervish in his surging ontological transformation.
Farid Farid | Divine Annihilation | 2010 | DOWNLOAD
He spends an inordinate amount of time crafting, sharpening, working on these stitched visual tableaux. The physical and intellectual labour is induced through the spiritual. It becomes the medium where the soul is crafted into a state of divinity. This is where Khaled's artistic genius is imminently revealed.
Farid Farid | Corner: A merciful reprieve | 2012 | DOWNLOAD
Since 1990 Sabsabi has worked with communities in Western Sydney to create and develop arts led programs that explore people and places from a broad social, political and religious spectrum.
Dr Thomas J. Berghuis, Lisa Havilah and Aaron Seeto | Edge of Elsewhere | 2010 | DOWNLOAD
He [Sabsabi] has also had extensive experience as a community advocate, curator and event organiser. He knows better than most the barriers that separate multicultural and community practices from the mainstream of art production and disseminationÑbarriers that are geographic, and cultural.
David McNeill | Khaled Sabsabi, or how to tell when you’re listening to a fool | Broadsheet | 2009 | DOWNLOAD
Sabsabi, a non-English-speaking background community outreach worker in Liverpool, has been working in the arts community for 15 years, but rapping much longer. He is performing at a hip-hop concert at the Opera House as part of the Global Sound Series
Perrie Croshaw | In da House | Sydney Morning Herald | 2001 | DOWNLOAD
Using video screens, hip-hop music on blasting sound systems, especially constructed dance floors and rebuilt cars, Hip Hopera will be a collaborative event between DDT and the young people of the area - especially those from non-English-speaking backgrounds
Angela Bennie | Hip-Hop gets Grant | Sydney Morning Herald | 1994 | DOWNLOAD
Any notion that these kids are just copying American styles quickly becomes untenable - these raps, in a variety of local accents, are so real you can smell the authenticity. Race, drugs, police harassment, violence and the experience of living in Western Sydney are some of the concerns which run through the raps.
Stephen Dunne | Hip Hope | Sydney Morning Herald | 1995 | DOWNLOAD
His latest workshop, the 2168 Project, linking hip hop artists with about 30 youths from Green Valley, Liverpool and Miller in western Sydney, aims to channel this anger creatively and break down stereotypes about young people from non-English-speaking backgrounds. There is also a strong job skills component, with students from previous workshops landing jobs running street magazines, working in community radio and starting their own hip hop groups.
Sharon Verghis | Hip hop eases city’s great dividing rage | Sydney Morning Herald | 2001 | DOWNLOAD
Looking forward to this remarkable event in 2002, you can't help but think that, as lucky as we are to have it, its a shame that for many of us it takes something like Carnivale to open our eyes to the riches around us. Once our eyes are open, however, there's much in the way of international music to see
Matt Buchanan | Experimental as anything | Sydney Morning Herald | 2002 | DOWNLOAD
Where many of his contemporaries are seemingly self-satisfied in exploring shallow waters further limited in their navigation by their relatively myopic frames of cultural reference, taking as their concerns or absurdly ominous sounding 'interrogations' narrow subjects of social, historical or aesthetic inquiry, Sabsabi has continued to dive into deeper depths of the human experience, pursuing a very personal yet paradoxically resounding universal invocation of truth.
Pedro De Almeida | Everything and nothing | Broadsheet | 2013 | DOWNLOAD
Being labeled 'multi-cultural' excludes you from the rest of the population as an artist by the colour of your skin. but the idea of Carnivale is good. It gives people who don't have easy access to the mainstream, an opportunity to display their works. But there is a lot of red tape. if you are a good artist, you should be called a good artist not a 'multicultural artist'
Perrie Croshaw | Ethnic knack | Sydney Morning Herald | 2001 | DOWNLOAD
The piece takes much of its performative language from the sensuous, twining forms of Arabic calligraphy... Writing With The Hip initially breaks speech back into its syllabic elements, deliberately echoing children being taught language... Sounds become dance rhythms, too, helped by an excellent score from Khaled Sabsabi.
Stephen Dunne | Calligraphic clues to culture connections | Sydney Morning Herald | 1996 | DOWNLOAD
Artists engaged in political art cannot ignore their context or background. It is understandable then, that The Resilient Landscape was filled with work acutely aware and informed by their experiences and emotions, they responded fully aware that their actions would not achieve a sustained result, knowing that they would succeed simply in being seen, heard and recorded
Chrisoula Lionis | Insurgence of the Politizen | 2008 | DOWNLOAD
Sabsabi's interpretation of the Prophet is a transgressive view. It falls somewhere between being a respectful witness and an outsider to Islamic teaching. His is a continuum between these positions, a notion of the infinite bringing centuries of Sufism spirituality into the now.
Kon Gouriotis | Khaled Sabsabi and the Infinite | 2014 | DOWNLOAD
Wonderland suggests that the unbridled fanaticism of the RBB stems as much from a pride in its wider, largely migrant community as of its beloved team's on-field performance. This is a triumph of a sporting team, and the triumph of self-determination.
Suzette Wearne | Basil Sellers Art Prize | 2014 | DOWNLOAD
Sabsabi's twenty years of practice as an artist and performer is a testament to his commitment to his community, his people and his love of the land. While the work has deep philosophical and spiritual concerns, the overall experience is immersive and musical, becoming neither didactic nor patriotic.
Ian Hobbs | I wish this paper were sound – Ali or Eli | Ali or Eli Catalogue | 2005 | DOWNLOAD
Sabsabi, from Granville started out performing in garages and formed his first band COD (Count On Damage) in the late '80s. He has since been involved in numerous theatre projects as well as the youth project Hiphopera. To him, hip hop is poetry with a conscience and he uses it to raise issues such as cultural identity and xenophobia.
Emma Tom | Sound The Young Guns | Sydney Morning Herald | 1995 | DOWNLOAD
With the largest geographical area and the greatest number of countries, the continent is a complex region of political systems, diverse cultures, with a multitude of changes and expeditious development. It is perhaps inevitable that its progress will have an enormous influence on the stability, modification and transformation of global political and economic structures.
Jessica Wang | Soft Power Asian Perspectives | Broadsheet | 2008 | DOWNLOAD
Cultural theorists have claimed that the most interesting art is produced in places where two or more cultures are interacting... The shell of St Patrick's Cathedral is an incredibly suggestive space. The stone walls are still standing, but, above, the skeletal rafters are open to the sky... In what is perhaps a subtle joke, the DJ table is placed where the altar would normally be (a God who can dance?). The sound artist Khaled Sabsabi and voice performer/mixer Saleh Saqqaf provide excellent work.
Stephen Dunne | Performance of solitude, cigarettes and coffee | Sydney Morning Herald | 1999 | DOWNLOAD
It's about their story, it's their experiences, this is what they want to do, this is what they want to say. And that varies from place to place, from person to personÉ it's about them documenting their stories, their experiences, the way that the want other people, or the public, or the world, to see them.
Tony Mitchell | Hip hop from Auburn to Beirut | 2007 | DOWNLOAD
Reflecting the way in which society has become complacent through the onslaught of propaganda, Sabsabi does not offer an explicit narrative through his work, rather he is asking the audience to uncover the layers of presentation, defying any preconceived ideas.
Naomi Gall | On’ n ‘On | Artlink | 2008 | DOWNLOAD
A visual artist, prolific sound producer and community cultural engagement producer at Casula Powerhouse, Sydney typifies the nexus of religious, cultural and artistic identities within a seamless web of complex art works that have garnered him most recently the prestigious Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship from the NSW Government.
Farid Farid | Melancholy Lives | Broadsheet | 2011 | DOWNLOAD
a strong Arabic focus and would act as the key means of reconciliation... A 3,000-strong Arabic celebration of unity, or dabkeh, would take place on the streets of Bankstown next month as planned, while performances by artists from Arabic backgrounds such as hip-hop artist and youth worker Khaled Sabsabi were expected to be highlights
Sharon Verghis | Art as a peacemaker, multicultural festival goes on | Sydney Morning Herald | 2001 | DOWNLOAD