Written by Salwat Ali
To portray power is not merely to witness its existence but also to deconstruct it in such a way as to unveil its hidden mechanisms, and critique its apparent form. Artistic treatments of economic themes inherently question settled understandings, and many contest things as they are. This approach is partially visible in Abdullah Syed’s latest exhibition Divine Economy, curated by Mikala Tai and recently shown at Aicon Gallery, New York. In light of current world politics and power structures, Syed examines the uneasy relationship between religious, political and economic systems and the veiled strategies of pressure and coercion that curb human freedom.