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Mariana Ibrahim Photo: Sofia Giner.
Mariana Ibrahim Photo: Sofia Giner.

Mariane Ibrahim to Open Paris Gallery Featuring Art from the African Diaspora

Just two years after moving her eponymous gallery from Seattle to Chicago, Mariane Ibrahim is to open an outpost in Paris in response to growing demand from European collectors for work by Black artists, Artnews reports. The new gallery will open in September in Paris’s 8th arrondissement, with a group show; among the artists Ibrahim currently represents are Amoako Boafo, Lina Iris Victor, Clotilde Jimenez, and Ayana V. Jackson.

The gallerist, who grew up in Somalia and France before leaving Paris for the United States in 2010, said that she was drawn back to the city by the recent surge in interest among French museums in repatriating African artworks. “I detected a kind of movement in conversations around art from Africa in general,” Ibrahim noted. “The debate over whether art should go back to the places where it was made or taken or stolen [led to questions around] what is happening with the arts from the African and African-American diaspora now. I was interested: What if Paris is going to go through a renaissance?”

Ibrahim, whose Chicago gallery was a contributor to last spring’s efforts to raise funds for San Francisco’s Covid-hit Museum of the African Diaspora, has long been a champion of emerging artists of African descent but said that she had previously “given up” on Paris as a place where it might be appreciated. Now, she says, she sees an opportunity there, especially among French and Italian collectors. “When I left Paris,” she said, “there was a void—and I can fill that void. It is important to claim this art because I am personally and professionally connected.” Aiding her in her goal is her strong sense of confidence in her artists and in the solidarity she feels with them. “At the end of the day,” she noted, “I’m one of them.”