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Mariane Ibrahim Champions Contemporary African Art In Paris

Published on , by Stéphanie Pioda

The Chicago-based Franco-Somali gallery owner is opening a Parisian branch on the highly desirable Avenue Matignon. We welcome the return of the prodigal daughter who champions contemporary African and diaspora art so well. 

Photo Fabrice Gousset Mariane Ibrahim Champions Contemporary African Art In Paris

Photo Fabrice Gousset

You left France ten years ago to open a gallery in Seattle. Wasn't the venture possible in Paris? I had already started the venture in France, but it couldn't get very far because I could see there was a certain resistance to work by artists of color or from the African diaspora. I left because African-Americans had begun to make headway with institutions, which gave the country a cultural, social and artistic appeal. But I ended up in Seattle: a city that is ultimately neither diverse nor artistically inclined. I wondered how best to promote artists in a place that is not a platform like New York or Los Angeles, so I went looking for customers. The fairs helped me to present my program and meet collectors with a sense of curiosity who moved around. And you have to remember that this was during Barack Obama's first term (2009 to 2012—Ed.). Since then, we have experienced not a cultural revolution in the US, but a form of emancipation, with artists who have not been very visible until now—i.e. artists of color, LGBT+ and women. There has been a shift in the balance, and the place of diversity is…
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