Central to his work is the breathtaking beauty of life, with a focus on humanity and our corporeality. Abdi writes, “People are beautiful, but I am also compelled by the depravity and evil contained within us all. These dualities—beauty, the grotesque, good, evil, the secular and the divine as they connect to humanity and are manifested in the plethora of interpersonal and societal relationships within our world—fuel my work.”
More recently, Abdi has been interested in the idea of the Alien or outcast as it relates to Christianity and to African American identity (see for example, Intruder Alert—a giant 7ft x 11ft oil painting!). He is particularly attuned to the prevalence of rhetoric regarding outer space or another world devoid of the inequalities and limitations of Earth within Christianity and Hip Hop. Often those excluded from the larger public sphere look toward another world for hope. In his current work, he seeks to imagine and create this better world, while also backhandedly commenting on the ills of the present. He writes, “The election of Barack Obama as President represents for me a collision of our current imperfect world with a glimpse of a world of endless possibility. Guiding this body of work is a verse from 2 Corinthians 4:18 which says, ‘So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.’”
Elbow Grease, 2006
Abdi is an artist with tremendous talent and work ethic and has touched many with his infectious spirit of sincerity and kindness.