Faisal Abdu'Allah

Artists tackle ten existential questions

Abdu'Allah is an artist from London who initially made a living running a barbershop while working and exhibiting internationally. His latest project, "The Browning of Britannia", is at the BFI Southbank Gallery, London SE1 (details from: http://www.bfi.org.uk), until 18 May.

Does art make a difference?

The process of making art has always affected reasoning, perception and intuition.

Should politics and art mix?

In the past few years I have felt very uneasy regarding the homeostasis of our contemporary artists. Their lines of inquiry and critical judgement have become blurred as they sit at the right hand of government.

Is your work for the many or for the few?

My work highlights the plight of the few and the vehicle of art exposes it to the critical mass. The Browning of Britannia is a good example of that principle.

If you were world leader, what would be your first law?

Ban bottled water and introduce free water fountains.

Who would be your top advisers?

Professor Stuart Hall, Dr Robert Beckford, Steven Pinker, David A Bailey.

What, if anything, would you censor?


If you had to banish one public figure, who would it be?

That’s a very difficult one. Dead: Elvis (listen to “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy). Alive: Paris Hilton, who has the talent of two Dunkin’ Donuts and encourages young people to be idle and shallow.

What are the rules that you live by?

Please and thank you; evil exists only as long as good people do nothing; eat as close to nature as possible; be careful what you despise, as you may have to rely on it later in life; the law of attraction; and the preservation of the irreplaceable – my sanity.

Do you love your country?

Love is a word that I would reserve for my wife. However, I think it works both ways: your country elicits deep respect only if it advocates and demonstrates good ethics. I guess I do have copious amounts of affection for Old Blighty.

Are we all doomed?

Human beings, despite all our failings, still care. The fate that is imminent and inescapable will not manifest itself to me, or my progeny, on my watch, in my lifetime.

This article first appeared in the 24 March 2008 issue of the New Statesman, The truth about Tibet