Squad: The Calling of the Common Hero - Page 15

Together, the eleven members of Squad represent boldness and resilience in their advocacy, attributes, and abilities. and cannot be divulged. Even though the faces of the individuals come to life via backlighting, they have no voice. Thus, the viewer is asked to trust in the presence of a more complex identity and representation of the figures of Adeve than initially meets the eye. The third stage of the process of selection removes a large portion of artistic control commanding the production of the work. Abdu’Allah demonstrates this stage in his first installment of Squad, a project realized in an advanced art history course in the spring of 2015 taught by the artist in his position as the Henry John Drewal Visiting Professor of African & Diaspora Arts at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Squad looks at the dormant qualities and hidden sides within each person that emerge through various means. The piece consists of eleven larger-than-life photographs of individuals who on the outside may look ordinary, but in reality are quite extraordinary. On the first day of class Abdu’Allah was greeted by four students, each with diverse backgrounds and interests. United by their passion for the course, Lynne Harper, Mikayla Lofton, Thomas Marren, and Anais Reyes joined forces to create the curatorial team for the work Squad. Throughout the semester, the curatorial team grappled with the challenging task of curating a museum exhibition from its conception, working with their professor as the exhibiting artist. Several weeks into the semester, Abdu’Allah realized that he wanted these four student curators to be subjects of his project. Working with the theme of bravery in the act of self-selection, Squad elevates the common, everyday figure to the rare and remarkable. The original four subjects were asked to pick a counterpart who, in their absence, would embody their passions and ultimately stand up for their beliefs and efforts. These counterparts also reflect those individuals who the original members of Squad would bring to battle with them in order to tackle challenges together. Harper, Lofton, Marren, and Reyes came to Abdu’Allah with their complements and Squad grew to eight members. The team together chose from the community three additional Squad members who represented self-selected bravery. Abdu’Allah desired a group of eleven because of his numerical superstitions about sports teams. When Squad is considered in that light one begins to question where the arena is and what the game is. Is Squad playing a football match—or are they playing the game of humankind? Together, the eleven members of Squad represent boldness and resilience in their advocacy, attributes, and abilities. Squad articulates the belief that everyone is capable of being extraordinary; more- 11