• 1  30 April 2022

     

    Galerie Marguo is very pleased to present A time separating the beloved from those they love, a solo exhibition of new and recent paintings by London-based artist Soimadou IbrahimOn view from 1 - 30 April, this marks the artist’s first exhibition in his home country, France. 

     

    Soimadou Ibrahim was born in Paris but spent the formative years of his childhood in Comoros, a small archipelagic nation off the east coast of Africa. With much of his family still in Itsinkoudi, a remote village on the archipelago’s largest island, Ibrahim’s first forays into painting were driven by a desire to bridge the distance between these two worlds. Drawing from family albums and the artist’s own memories, loved ones and scenes of everyday life are rendered in neat, broad strokes and cheerful blocks of color. Imbued with the tenderness of longing, the resulting portraits, landscapes, and still lifes belie the disjunctions that stem from the experience of living between cultural and geographic regimes of knowledge.  

     

    Full Press Release ↓

  • For his first exhibition in France, Ibrahim shifts his attention to its geopolitical ties with Comoros, a former French colony. A time separating the beloved from those they love addresses the hypocrisies inherent to the universalist ideals of a post-colonial national and cultural identity in which race and religion are not recognized, in a country that accounts for fifty percent of the African Diaspora in Europe alone. 

  • Soimadou Ibrahim, Les Misérables, 2022 (detail)
  • Les Miserables (2022) is a human-scale canvas depicting a demonstration for undocumented workers’ rights on the Place du Trocadero, where...

    Les Miserables (2022) is a human-scale canvas depicting a demonstration for undocumented workers’ rights on the Place du Trocadero, where the Eiffel Tower is positioned as a focal point in the background. Like a Gothic spire, it draws our attention upwards, conveying its status as a beacon of human progress while simultaneously evoking the keychains and figurines hawked by street vendors.

     

    The symbolic irony extends to the predicament of these individuals who, despite being forced to make themselves conspicuous at risk of arrest or deportation in order to earn a living, frequently go unnoticed by the throngs of tourists and locals who pass them by.

     

    Les Misérables, 2022

    Acrylic on canvas
    230 x 160 cm

    90 x 63 in

  • Soimadou Ibrahim, L'uniforme, 2022 (detail)
  • The questions of visibility, representation, and the important role these play in the production of empathy, are recurrent throughout Ibrahim’s...

    The questions of visibility, representation, and the important role these play in the production of empathy, are recurrent throughout Ibrahim’s work. His paintings often feature loved ones and scenes of everyday life in Itsinkoudi. Drawn from family albums, the artist’s memories, or his imagination, paintings such as l’Uniforme, One day it’ll all make senseor Soul Power evoke the importance of kinship and community.

     

    L'uniforme, 2022

    Acrylic on canvas
    210 x 150 cm

    83 x 60 in

  • Soimadou Ibrahim, L'uniforme, 2022 (detail)
  • "Capturing the character is everything. It is always the personality that I aim to express by exploring the individual’s features and bringing them to life. That’s the reason I paint; to feel connected to family members from afar, and to bring a sense of belonging and support to within."

    — Soimadou Ibrahim

  • Soimadou Ibrahim, One day it’ll all make sense, 2022 (detail)
    • Soimadou Ibrahim One day it’ll all make sense, 2022 Acrylic on canvas 180 x 120 cm 72 x 48 in
      Soimadou Ibrahim
      One day it’ll all make sense, 2022
      Acrylic on canvas
      180 x 120 cm
      72 x 48 in
    • Soimadou Ibrahim Soul Power, 2022 Acrylic on canvas 70 x 50 cm 27 x 19 in
      Soimadou Ibrahim
      Soul Power, 2022
      Acrylic on canvas
      70 x 50 cm
      27 x 19 in
  • Soimadou Ibrahim, Soul Power, 2022 (detail)
  • "A worker enjoys a cigarette whilst taking a break from his shift. This artwork sheds light on the fact that so many low income, manual jobs are occupied by people of colour. In truth, a lot of French people no longer want to do this type of work, but we still need someone to remove the rubbish, to build houses and to clean the streets. This piece therefore gives a nod to all workers of colour, without whom, our community structure would fall apart."

    — Soimadou Ibrahim

  • Soimadou Ibrahim, Ciggy break, 2022 (detail)
  • Portraits of low-wage workers, such as in Ciggy Break or Mind on the Job, reinforce the individual humanity of these anonymous migrants, without whom the infrastructure of society would collapse.

    • Soimadou Ibrahim Ciggy break, 2022 Acrylic on canvas 120 x 90 cm 48 x 36 in
      Soimadou Ibrahim
      Ciggy break, 2022
      Acrylic on canvas
      120 x 90 cm
      48 x 36 in
    • Soimadou Ibrahim Mind on the job, 2022 Acrylic on canvas 120 x 90 cm 48 x 36 in
      Soimadou Ibrahim
      Mind on the job, 2022
      Acrylic on canvas
      120 x 90 cm
      48 x 36 in
  • Soimadou Ibrahim, Mind on the job, 2022 (detail)
  • The paintings are warm and inviting, their subtle critique embedded beneath thick layers of paint applied in broad, straight strokes....

    The paintings are warm and inviting, their subtle critique embedded beneath thick layers of paint applied in broad, straight strokes. For example, there is no indication that Ancient town, an anodyne painting of a sun-drenched house with brick lintels and a towering leafy tree, is taken from a photo in Grand-Bassam, the former French capital of the Ivory Coast, which in the 19th century became the starting base for colonizers exploring West Africa.

     

    In this way the artist lures in the viewer, juxtaposing the formally abstracted depictions of his subjects with their politicized, if unspoken, contexts.

     

    Ancient town, 2022
    Acrylic on canvas
    230 x 160 cm

    90 x 63 in

  • Soimadou Ibrahim, Ancient town, 2022 (detail)
  • Soimadou Ibrahim, Crocodiles Lake, 2022

    Soimadou Ibrahim

    Crocodiles Lake, 2022 Acrylic on canvas
    130 x 230 cm
    51 x 90 in
  • Soimadou Ibrahim, Wind from the Atlantic, 2022 (detail)
    • Soimadou Ibrahim Wind from the Atlantic, 2022 Acrylic on wooden panel 69.9 x 45.7 cm 24 x 18 in
      Soimadou Ibrahim
      Wind from the Atlantic, 2022
      Acrylic on wooden panel
      69.9 x 45.7 cm
      24 x 18 in
    • Soimadou Ibrahim King’s Island, 2022 Acrylic on canvas 120 x 90 cm 48 x 36 in
      Soimadou Ibrahim
      King’s Island, 2022
      Acrylic on canvas
      120 x 90 cm
      48 x 36 in
  • Soimadou Ibrahim, King’s Island, 2022 (detail)
  • Soimadou Ibrahim, So far to go, 2022

    Soimadou Ibrahim

    So far to go, 2022 Acrylic on canvas
    120 x 180 cm
    48 x 72 in
  • The socio-economic circumstances of those faced with the decision to join the African Diaspora are evoked in Le bon côté...

    Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the sea of fog, c. 1818

    The socio-economic circumstances of those faced with the decision to join the African Diaspora are evoked in Le bon côté de la Méditerranée and So Far to Goin which Caspar David Friedrich’s famous Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (c.1818) is recast with a young African man staring out across a placid ocean toward the pale horizon.

     

    Friedrich’s painting is considered an emblem of Romanticism in its portrayal of a young man contemplating his self-determined existence on the edge of a cliff before the great sublime, represented by the thrashing ocean below. In Ibrahim’s version, the contemplative, romantic atmosphere of the composition is subverted by the harsh reality that faces the majority of young people in Comoros: the decision to pursue better opportunities for themselves and their family, with the knowledge of the danger and adversity this entails.

  • Soimadou Ibrahim, Le bon côté de la Méditerranée, 2022 (detail)
    • Soimadou Ibrahim Le bon côté de la Méditerranée, 2022 Acrylic on canvas 230 x 160 cm 90 x 63 in
      Soimadou Ibrahim
      Le bon côté de la Méditerranée, 2022
      Acrylic on canvas
      230 x 160 cm
      90 x 63 in
    • Soimadou Ibrahim Pirate du bitume, 2022 Acrylic on canvas 210 x 150 cm 83 x 60 in
      Soimadou Ibrahim
      Pirate du bitume, 2022
      Acrylic on canvas
      210 x 150 cm
      83 x 60 in
  • Soimadou Ibrahim, Pirate du bitume, 2022 (detail)
  • 'Taken from the French national anthem, Le jour de gloire or The glory day, points to the simple pleasures in...

    "Taken from the French national anthem, Le jour de gloire or The glory day, points to the simple pleasures in life, like getting a haircut. For people of colour, particularly black men, the barber shop is thought of as a safe space where you can be yourself without judgement, laugh and share anecdotes with others who can relate. For some men, going to the barber shop becomes the highlight of their week because walking out with a clean cut gives them a sense of pride and confidence." — Soimadou Ibrahim

    Le jour de gloire, 2022

    Acrylic on canvas
    210 x 150 cm

    83 x 60 in

  • Soimadou Ibrahim, Le jour de gloire, 2022 (detail)
  • 'Inspired by an ID picture taken of a young man who is preparing to leave his country for his next...

    "Inspired by an ID picture taken of a young man who is preparing to leave his country for his next chapter. ID pictures can act as an interesting point of study for a painting; they are simple but they also detail all the features of the person photographed.The subject is supposed to remain still without expressing emotion, yet there’s still a hint of character in ID pictures which captures the attention of the viewer." — Soimadou Ibrahim

    To the new world, 2022
    Acrylic on wooden panel
    120 x 90 cm

    48 x 36 in

  • Soimadou Ibrahim, To the new world, 2022 (detail)
    • Soimadou Ibrahim First fight, 2022 Acrylic on paper 42 x 29.7 cm 51 x 40 x 3 cm (framed)
      Soimadou Ibrahim
      First fight, 2022
      Acrylic on paper
      42 x 29.7 cm
      51 x 40 x 3 cm (framed)
    • Soimadou Ibrahim Joy, 2022 Acrylic on paper 42 x 29.7 cm 51 x 40 x 3 cm (framed)
      Soimadou Ibrahim
      Joy, 2022
      Acrylic on paper
      42 x 29.7 cm
      51 x 40 x 3 cm (framed)
  • Soimadou Ibrahim, Crocodiles Lake, 2022 (detail)
  • Opening at a moment when the devastating reality of dispossession and migration are being intensely felt and experienced across Europe on a massive scale, the works presented here challenge the erasure of the marginalized. In the words of the artist: 

     

    “This collection of works represents the forced movement of people who have had to leave their country and their loved ones in order to make a better life for themselves and for those they left behind…Many have faced perilous journeys and have risked everything just to make it to Europe, only to be met with financial hardship, prejudice and distrust. These paintings therefore pay homage to the diaspora in France. Moreover, it highlights the power that simple acts of kindness can have and encourages us to reflect on what it actually means to be French, because without difference…it would not be France as we know it.”

  • Artist Studio in London, UK
  • About the artist

    About the artist

     

    Soimadou Ibrahim (b. 1989, France) currently lives and works in London, UK. His works are usually adapted from archival photographs, pictures taken by the artist himself, memories, and imagination. They each portray the importance of family, of life itself and hope, illustrated by straight lines, bold gestural strokes and bright colours inspired by his studies in graphic design and art. In essence, Ibrahim uses the practice of painting as a way to reconnect and engage with his roots.

     

    He holds an MA in Graphic Design and Art Direction from the Campus Fonderie de l’Image, Paris (2016) and an MA in Graphic Design and Digital Art from Rennes-II University, Rennes (2015). Solo exhibitions include ‘For life is not eternal’, SFA Advisory (New York, 2021); ‘Farewell Savane’, Kotaro Nukaga (Tokyo, 2021);  ‘Distant Relatives’, Bill Brady Gallery (Los Angeles, 2021); and ‘My thoughts tell me tales’, ATM Gallery (New York, 2021). Ibrahim’s work has been included in the group exhibitions ‘Ridiculous Sublime’, SFA Advisory (New York, 2021); and  ‘Isolation Mastered’, JD Malat Gallery (London, 2020).

     

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    Soimadou Ibrahim, One day It’ll all make sense, 2022 (detail)