Ibi Ibrahim is a Yemeni American visual artist, writer, and musician. His work is often inspired by his immediate surroundings, with an artistic practice that has steadily evolved to reflect his personal experiences and life stages over the past decade. His early work touches upon issues of sexuality, gender, and tradition across the Middle East, including in his native Yemen.
In 2014 as the war erupted in Yemen, and later when the Trump administration instituted the travel ban, Ibrahim’s practice evolved and placed the notion of home into question. What is home? What does it mean to be dispossessed of one? In his work, Ibrahim explores these questions through ongoing interviews and conversations with individuals experiencing the effects of the travel ban and the ongoing war in their homeland. In this body of work, Ibrahim is interested in people occupying the liminal space between homeland and al-gharb—the outer world.
His work is part of a number of public collections including the British Museum, Arab American National Museum, Colorado College, Barjeel Art Foundation, and Durham University Museum. He has been part of numerous art residencies including the Arab American National Museum (Dearborn), Soma Art Space (Berlin), Beirut Art Residency (Beirut), Cites Internationale des Arts (Paris), and others.
Reclaiming Realities: The Yemeni American Experience
Yemeni American artist Ibi Ibrahim will create Reclaiming Realities, a photo and oral history project documenting the image and experiences of Yemeni Americans in their own environments. Ibrahim will photograph and interview Yemeni bodega workers across New York City, creating space for each subject to tell their personal story of coming to America and reclaiming their own reality. Ibrahim is interested in the liminal space between homeland and al-gharb—the outer world. Reclaiming Realities will explore themes of home, multi-national identity, and the enduring impact of political events such as the Yemen War and travel ban on both Yemenis and Yemeni Americans.
Get to know Ibi Ibrahim
What role can art and culture play in shaping the future of your neighborhood or the city at large?
Art and culture offer us an opportunity to come together as a community. It is the notion that enables us to develop an attachment to our neighborhoods and cities. Through this notion, we’re able to create and develop a sense of identity as individuals but also as a society.