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
The last memory I have of my early life was standing in front of my grandmother and not wanting to say goodbye or to let her go before being taken out of Lebanon. Coming to a new land I felt out of the ordinary—everything was different and unfamiliar. People didn’t understand me and I didn’t understand them.
Khaled Sabsabi | Khaled Sabsabi | 2016 | DOWNLOAD
The true magic was in the nuanced details: each stitch of embroidered thread sewing a history; each minute gesture of painting compounding in a definitive message. It was up to the viewer to tease out the thread, to formulate a promise, to accept the artist’s invitation of a universal prayer for all.
Victoria Scott | Khaled Sabsabi, A Promise | 2020 | DOWNLOAD
In Sabsabi’s practice this impulse is employed to question the regressive binaries that foster nationalism, tribalism, religious sectarianism, and the shallow, instrumentalist reasons for bigotry and intolerance. To engage with Sabsabi’s work is to witness a search for meanings and categories that pertain as much to the spiritual world as to the despair of our political moment.
Safdar Ahmed | Convergences—Spiritual & Political, the art of Khaled Sabsabi | 2018 | DOWNLOAD
For ‘in memory we trust’ this is reflected in my choice to use light, colour inversions and materials to make objects which denote our memories, visible yet invisible. The intent to abstract designs in ‘in memory we trust’, is my attempt to lead to the translation into deformation and the irrationalities of voidness.
Khaled Sabsabi | In Memory We Trust | 2016 | DOWNLOAD
Sabsabi’s communities reveal the structures of exclusion that are carefully managed by mainstream media. Far from being an outmoded relic of modernity, he demonstrates that crowds still count as a powerful disruptive force... Sabsabi forces the spectator to confront the ongoing construction and stereotyping of Australian identity, and the role sport plays in supporting this process.
Chari Larsson | Multitude, Solitude: Khaled Sabsabi’s ‘Crowds’ | 2016 | DOWNLOAD
They do not form narrative sequences, but as aggregations they create a substantial impression of Sabsabi’s experience of place. They are autobiographical. There is a personal investment in these images, of a particular place and time as if the conjoined condition of both being there (in Beirut) and not (being in Western Sydney working back over the images) turns them into ciphers of migrant experience.
Blair French | Images of Record | 2021 | DOWNLOAD
Sabsabi challenges the configuration of the Australian bodypolitic by presenting a kaleidoscopic flux of facial fragments which have to be organised by our minds. Sabsabi’s installation captures the profound aesthetics of beauty, ugliness and all that lies in between.
Farid Farid | Scarred Spaces | 2009 | DOWNLOAD
Deep and perennial questions of spirit, history and the appalling, eternally-recurring reality of war. Sabsabi’s personal engagement with these concerns has produced a remarkable body of work that, justifiably and inevitably, breaks down the norms of the insular, still-largely Western and nationalistic, Australian Art world.
John Mateer | Khaled Sabsabi – A Self Portrait | Artlink | 2018 | DOWNLOAD
The rather austere Sydney Opera House halls will reverberate to the Global Sounds Series, a world music melting pot featuring hardcore hip hop sound artist Khaled Sabsabi, fusion rhythm-masters Passionfruit and the Spanish-German poet Jose Olivier, who will present his work with flamenco dancer Diana Reyes.
Matt Buchanan | Sound Advice | The Sydney Morning Herald | 2001 | 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
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
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 | Minority Majority | 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
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 | 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, 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 | 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 | 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 | Peacefender: 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 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 | Sydney Morning Herald | 2001 | DOWNLOAD