Artist in Residence: Ibrahim Ahmed


27 September 2019 – 24 October 2019 

Primary, Nottingham

Launch Event: 26 September 2019, 5PM – 9PM

Ibrahim Ahmed will be in residency with New Art Exchange in Nottingham from 22 September to 13 October. As part of his residency, he will be having his solo exhibition at Primary, Nottingham.

Commissioned by NAE, Does Anybody Leave Heaven? is an assemblage tapestry made with textile items found in Egyptian street markets, clothing, bags and other items, which are printed with the flag of the United States of America.

Ibrahim Ahmed lives in a popular working class area of Cairo, where most of his social network is composed of young males who have not been able to travel outside Egypt. When explaining in conversation that he left the US to relocate to Cairo in 2014, he is consistently asked the question, “Does Anybody Leave Heaven?” In the world of his peers, Cairo is a place to escape and the USA is a place to dream about arriving at its shores.

Installed at Primary with photographs, audio and a new video work by Karim El Hayawan, the work is a commentary on the constructed mythology and fetishism surrounding the US as a place of desire and opportunity, particularly by underprivileged young males who have normalised wearing the American flag in the streets of Cairo.

Born in Kuwait (1984), Ibrahim Ahmed spent his childhood between Bahrain and Egypt before moving to the US at the age of thirteen. In 2014, he relocated to Cairo, where he currently lives and works in the informal neighbourhood of Ard El Lewa. Ahmed’s manipulations of material, especially textile, are informed by research into the histories and movements of people and objects. His works in mixed media, sculpture, and installation engage with subjects related to colonisation, structures of power, cultural interactions, and fluid identity, generating discussion around ideas of the self and notions of authenticity within the parameters of the nation-state.

Ahmed has shown his work in solo exhibitions at Sara Zanin Gallery, Rome (2019); Gallery Nosco, Marseille (2018); Volta Art Fair, New York (2016); Townhouse Gallery, Cairo (2016); artellewa art space, Cairo (2014); and Solo(s) Project House, Newark (2010). His work has also been included in numerous group exhibitions, including at the Sharjah Art Museum, Dakar Biennial, Havana Biennial, Biennale Internationale de Casablanca, No Longer Empty, New York, Swab Barcelona, and the Dubai Design District.

Ibrahim Ahmed is represented by Sara Zanin Gallery in Rome, Italy and Gallery Nosco in Marseille, France.


33 Seely Road



Open Thursday — Saturday, 11am—6pm

Image: Ibrahim Ahmed, Does Anyone Leave Heaven? Photo Hesham Mohamed Hassan.

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