Yemeni photographer Ibi Ibrahim is to be featured in the upcoming Art14 annual global art fair in London, UK.
At only 26 years old, Mr. Ibrahim has built up an extensive repertoire of photographic pieces focused issues that are treated as significant taboos in the Arab and greater Islamic world, making his work a point of controversy for some. Such taboos include issues pertaining to religion, identity, homosexuality, gender identity and equality, and women’s empowerment, among others.
Mr. Ibrahim’s surfaced on the international art scene several years ago, particularly after he was awarded the “2010 Best Emerging Artist” award by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) that year for his photograph entitled “Fatima” from his Social Codes series. “Fatima” highlighted homosexuality as a response to spousal abuse, with critics claiming that it reinforced “orientalist” stereotypes about the Middle East.
He has accredited much of his inspiration to his cultural background as well as his personal history, having spent his formative years moving about the Middle East as the son of a Yemeni diplomat. His background has played a major role in his development as an artist and his relationship with identity, which has led him to define home as a “moment” of inspiration, love and happiness, as opposed to a place or the company of a person. Artists he admires include French photographer Henri Cartier Bresson, also known as “the father of photojournalism”, as well as Iranian artist Shirin Neshat and fellow Yemeni photographer Boushra Almutawakel, both featured in the “She Who Tells a Story” exhibition.
In addition to his photography, Mr. Ibrahim has also been exploring film, having released his cinematic debut, “Sounds of Oud“, in 2012 as an exploration of deception, devotion and passion.
In his upcoming exhibition, Mr. Ibrahim will continue his work with taboos, this time focusing on his perceptions of the relationship between Islam and sexuality, absence and freedom. The Art14 fair featuring Mr. Ibrahim’s work, among others, will run from February 28th – March 2nd, 2014 at the Olympia Grand near London’s Kensington Station.