Karem Ibrahim 

An Egyptian/British Artist Living and Working in the UK 
Central to my work are my own experiences and observations growing up in Egypt. My mother’s way of using everything more than one time, my father’s doggedness and stubbornness when he tried to fix things and make things from limited resources. I also draw on my days at school and university in Cairo, and living in the desert of Sinai, working there and crossing the many checkpoints, and later the borders of Egypt for the first time in 1994 when I went to Germany.

Value, in both its theoretical and tangible meanings, is one of the most important issues that I deal with: the way things are seen and used, how fashions are followed and how things are viewed, priced, consumed and discarded. My works of 2001, 2002 and 2003 try to tackle the issue of value and valuation, but also consider aesthetics and the relationship between the work and the viewer, engulfment, alienation and dislocation within a specific context.

Just as my experience of Egypt forms the greater part of my visual and social archive, many of the ideas I am currently exploring come from my present surroundings, namely London. However, I am still stimulated by issues which are of great relevance to the Middle East, such as inclusion and exclusion, borders and crossings, authority and bureaucracy, the dynamics of unequal power, arbitrariness and co-ercion, resistance to power, uneasiness, entrapment, tightness and comfort, availabilty of space, see-through walls and the world of the in-between.

Since the emergence of a series of works entitled Special Place I and Special Place II (Crete, 2007 and London, 2008) my work has increasingly involved elements of performance, stamps, printing and photography. It may provoke brief and subtle power struggles or games, aiming thereby to engage and interrogate the viewer’s expectation of the work, at the same time questioning how this engagement affects their experience of the wider world.

17 - 26 September 12:00 - 18:00 open weekends, Tues - Sun; closed Monday - Private view: 17. Sep, 18:00 - 21:00