The University of Wisconsin announced internationally acclaimed artist, Faisal Abdu’Allah, will be the new faculty director of The Studio: Creative Arts & Design Community in Sellery Residence Hall Wednesday.

Abdu’Allah will replace John Hitchcock, who was named associate dean for the arts in the School of Education earlier this semester. Hitchcock has been teaching at UW since 2001, and has served as faculty director of The Studio since 2014.

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John Baldacchino, director of the Arts Institute, said Abdu’Allah was a perfect candidate for the position because he has a wide range of experiences and a rich background as an academic and as an artist.

Originally from the United Kingdom, Abdu’Allah first came to UW in 2013 as a part of the Art Institute’s Interdisciplinary Arts Residency Program.

Abdu’Allah’s artistic style is one of “iconographic imagery of power, race, masculinity, violence, and faith which challenges the values and ideologies we attach to those images.” His art questions the historical and cultural contexts from which those images and representations originated.

“If you look at his work, if you look at his background, if you look at what he does at the moment working with youth, he engages with identity and what the youth likes to do,” Baldachhino said.

Baldacchino said The Studio, which is dedicated to freshmen, fosters student engagement, conversation and diversity through the arts.

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The space is where students can meet other students and discuss and portray their experiences through artistic outlets, Baldacchino said. Students do not have to be art majors to attend The Studio, Baldacchino said.

Abdu’Allah received his bachelor of fine arts degree from Central Saint Martins College in London, a master’s degree from the Royal College of Art in London and a Ph.D. from the University of East London.

“[Faisal] brings a rich experience as an artist, as an academic, as a professor, as someone who has worked with youth and as someone who has very much addressed issues of identity and diversity through art,” Baldacchino said.