“At times, I see it as a privilege to be Yemeni, artist or not. This is a place as old as history can be. With all its complications, conflicts, and endless wars, I am still very fortunate that I am one who comes from that world. On the other hand, there is a social responsibility towards bringing Yemeni stories to the surface and creating an awareness on Yemeni matters rather than presenting other bodies of work. It’s a sacrifice at times.”iii
In his work, artist, writer, filmmaker, and musician Ibi Ibrahim conveys ideas of home, displacement, and what it means to be dispossessed. Drawing inspiration from his life experiences, Ibrahim often addresses issues of sexuality, gender, and tradition in juxtaposition with the conservative Yemeni society from which he comes. His images have started conversations between Yemeni youth about “the social and cultural effects of the widespread conservatism which has grown in his country and the region over the last forty years.”iv Ibrahim’s work has been exhibited across the globe and is part of the permanent collections of multiple institutions. He founded of the Romooz Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting emerging art and literature in Yemen, and Makan, a New York-based initiative on art and food from countries of conflict and beyond.