December 2, 2022

Somali-French gallerist Mariane Ibrahim on the five artworks that changed her life

6 min read


written by Jackie Palmbo, CNN

CNN Original Series “Gypsy with Carlton McCoy“Debut on May 1 at 10pm ET / PT. The first episode, filmed in Paris, will feature Marian Ibrahim.

When Marianne Abraham opened her beautiful, new three-story art gallery in Paris last September, she became the first black gallerist to set up shop in the French capital, and according to the Somali-French art dealer, the first dedication to the modern exhibition. ۔ The art of Africa and its inhabitants.

At the 8th Arrondissement in Paris, among other famous galleries and near landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre, the site features Haitian-American artist M. Florin Demosthen’s mixed media figures from other worlds and Afro-found photo collages. Have gone Latin artist Clotilde Jiménez. In April, Ibrahim launched the Ghanaian Painter’s European Show. Amoko BuffoWhich captures the beauty of dark skin in a moving, lush brush stroke.
Marian Ibrahim on the show "Bedouin."

“Gypsy” on the Marian Ibrahim show.

The layout of the gallery, in a crisp, airy new space, housed inside a historic building designed in the classic Hausmann style, especially to highlight the importance of the lesser-known work. Was meaningful. “It commands a certain thought when you come in,” he said in a phone interview. “I really wanted a place that was dignified, one that could host the art of the future.”

Prior to his return to Paris, Abraham spent the last decade building his American presence, focusing on African diaspora art through galleries in Seattle and Chicago. Over the past few years, he said, American museums and galleries have made significant progress in representing black artists, while interest in the art market has grown. But in Paris, despite France’s extensive colonial history with the continent, there are no other galleries for artists of African heritage.

The front porch of Marian Ibrahim Paris.

The front porch of Marian Ibrahim Paris. Credit: Courtesy of Marian Ibrahim Gallery

“It’s troubling, because we’re in 2022, in France, a country that has such strong ties to the world in general, but (especially) Africa, and the Indies, the Caribbean.” “In the last five years, the number of African artists who have attracted the attention of museums in the United States is greater than in France in the last 50 years.”

Upcoming CNN Originals “Gypsy with Carlton McCoy” In which delicious Carlton McCoy Exploring the lesser-known aspects of popular cities and countries, Abraham ate home-cooked meals with her and artist Rafael Barontini at Barontini’s studio in St. Denis, a Paris suburb. McCoy said in the episode that he saw “a clear lack of black and brown perspective” in the capital’s famous museums.

“In France you are exposed to art, but you face the domination of culture over others,” Ibrahim told him in the episode. “All you see is his work on people like us.”

Marian Ibrahim, Carlton McCoy and Rafael Barontini on "Bedouin."

Marian Ibrahim, Carlton McCoy and Raphael Barontini on “Gypsy”.

Abraham began collecting Barontini’s work in 2019, focusing on the personal connection she felt with her work. Barontini is French, Italian, and Caribbean, and Abraham felt a connection to the “hybridity” of his practice, in which he screened brave African figures in a regular composition of art-historical European paintings.

“People are constantly asking you to choose: what are you? Are you French, are you African?” Abraham said. “I refuse to do that. I don’t want to make a choice. I want to be everything.”

Although Ibrahim is at the forefront of bringing contemporary African diasporic art to Paris, he believes others will soon follow suit.

He noted that Paris had the “right audience”. “That’s why I’m so optimistic about France. I think Paris is going to be the capital of diversity.”

Here, we asked Abraham to share five pieces of art that stayed with him.

The most inspiring works of art by Marian Ibrahim.

Sido Kita “Untitled” (1958-59)

When Abraham saw a poster advertising an exhibition in a Paris bar showing the work of 20th-century photographer Saido Kata, who runs a portrait studio in Bamako, Mali, when the city changed after colonial rule. It happened, so he set it on its way. A gallerist. In the portrait, against a patterned background, a man in a polished white suit and thick rimmed glasses is delicately presenting a flower to the audience.

Saido Kita, "Untitled, 1958-59."

Saido Keta, “Untitled, 1958-59.” Credit: Seydou Keïta / SKPEAC / The Jean Pigozzi African Art Collective

“Posters, flowers, shapes reminded me of my family photos,” she said. “It simply came to our notice then. I was watching my uncle, or my father’s friend, hold this flower.”

Inspired by Keïta, Ibrahim’s first gallery show in Seattle featured the work of his peer Malik Sidbi. “This picture impressed me to the point where I wanted to start a gallery,” he said.

Tamara de Lampika “Young Woman with Gloves” (1930)

This magnificent, highly stylized painting by Polish art deco painter Tamara de Lampica is one of Ibrahim’s favorites because he enjoys the simple pleasures of beauty. The woman in the picture is peeking out from under a white wide-brimmed hat with matching gloves, a green dress with jewels and a bright red lip. “I know the art world abandoned beauty in the 60’s … at least in quantity,” he commented. “I like it the most.”

Tamara de Lampica, "Young lady with gloves"

Tamara de Lampika, “Young Woman with Gloves.” Credit: Elena Alone / Pacific Press / Light Rocket / Getty Images

De Lampica also had a rare female perspective in symbolic painting, and Abraham appreciates the clarity of his gaze. “I am disturbed by this picture of Draper and this woman in a green dress,” he said. “Everything is charged … it’s overcharged.”

Arthur Jaffa “Love is the message, the message is death.” (2016)

Set on the Kanye West evangelical track “Ultra Light Beam”, this seven-and-a-half-minute video by artist and director Arthur Jaffa pays homage to the creative power of black Americans amidst violence and prejudice. Combining the video footage, Jaffa creates a story of both collective happiness and despair.

Abraham said, “Every time I watch this video, it just gives me an energy I can’t describe – the energy to destroy, and the energy to restore, to fix, to change, Abraham said. “It just gives you something that brings happiness and pain with the same intensity.”

Maimona Gorsey, “Surprise” (2010)

Images by Italian Senegalese multimedia artist Maimona Garcسیa, which will be on display at Ibrahim’s Chicago later this year, are steeped in Islamic mysticism.

Maimona Gorici, "Surprise."

Maïmouna Guerresi, “Wonder.” Credit: Thanks to Marian Ibrahim

As a European-born woman who converted to Islam, Gorsey adopted African traditions instead of the other way around. Abraham said, “He is against me.” “He adopted another culture, changed his name, changed his religion … I found it really interesting and brave.”

In “Surprise,” a rising woman in a dramatic but simple black and white dress, looking at her two small children in a white dress, conveys a sense of sacred reverence. Talking about Garc بڑیa’s great practice, Ibrahim said, “This is the man who immersed himself completely in (African Muslim) culture and created just this extraordinary work.”

Gustave Courbet, “L’Origine du Monde” (1866)

Abraham was a teenager when he first encountered an oil painting by French artist Gustave Corbett, cut from a leaning woman near Volva, and said he thought it was from artwork. ” Can’t hide. ” “I’ve never seen a body look like this,” he said.

After painting by an Ottoman diplomat, it was moved around private collectors, rediscovered in an antique shop, and looted during World War II, before finally. It should be sold at auction to psychologist Jack Lacan, who hid it behind a wooden sliding door. It has been on public display at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris since 1995, where Ibrahim finally saw the work in person for the first time last year. She feels that this work is an indication of her experience of seeing artwork.

“Art makes you feel a little uneasy,” he said. “But you keep looking for it.”



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