Gallerist Mariane Ibrahim Is Bringing African Art to the World

Mariane Ibrahim at her gallery in Chicago, in front of Ian Mwesiga’s Man Standing by the Pool, 2020. Ibrahim wears a Dior jacket, blouse, skirt, socks, and shoes; Almasika earrings. Photo courtesy of Elliott Jerome Brown Jr.

When Mariane Ibrahim first opened her Seattle gallery in 2012 to showcase contemporary African art, she felt isolated and unsupported. Since moving her business to Chicago, Ibrahim has had a warmer engagement with the artist she presents and is confident in what this may mean for the future. In this feature for W, Arthur Lubow highlights Ibrahim’s career and the latter discusses what she believes has led to this current moment in which African artists are being received in a new light.

“It is like a gold rush. It’s not a trend; it’s a momentum. Every time you do a Black African show, it is always more successful than the one that came before it. I don’t take any pride in being first. I hope it will pass.” - Mariane Ibrahim