Mariane Ibrahim is in Mexico City. Her new gallery, at Río Pánuco 36, welcomes us into a space with a romantic Porfiriato façade, located in the Cuauhtemoc neighborhood of the Mexican capital. The large property—her third gallery—combines refined French moldings, eclecticism, and a touch of tropical greenery. Ibrahim’s team is working against the clock on the final details of Clotilde Jiménez’s installation La Memoria del Agua, which combines large-scale collages, some ceramics, and painting.
Ibrahim came to Mexico City to do what she does best: represent contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora within the white spaces of the curatorial world.
Vogue: What is your hope with this move to Mexico?
Mariane Ibrahim: I hope to find myself. In [art] we are a bit distanced. We tend to get out of our mission, driven by the market, so the reencounter with these “first loves” is the real reason why we do this work. Being in Mexico allows me to feel more complete and more focused on the future. I think Mexico City has an energy of the future—in music, in art, with architecture, design, and fashion. It is a vital place in the world we are in, and it also has a focus on craftsmanship. Our artists are aware of this.
What is your next goal?
My goal is to continue to encourage and develop our artists to collaborate with institutions and leave an important legacy. I want to make it clear that we are not an ephemeral project, we are not going to disappear. We will do whatever it takes to anchor our artists within the movement, because this belongs to them. We’ve had the privilege of working at the Smithsonian American Art Museum with Ayana V. Jackson [on a 2023 exhibition], and, on the other hand, with Amoako Boafo at the Seattle Art Museum last year… So I want to continue to work for the next generation of artists and be able to offer them all the necessary tools.
Will there be an opportunity to work with Afro-Mexican artists?
You left the best question for last… I’m here, interested in Mexico, because there is a story I want to reveal that hasn’t been told at all, or not presented in the right way. There is a great veil of ignorance over what happened on this side of the world, and the place that Veracruz occupied in the emancipation of Black people in Mexico. I am very interested in researching the processes of mestizaje, and I seek to connect with Afro-Mexicans. It’s something I do all the time—I feel that they are kind of cousins with whom it is necessary to reconnect. It is necessary to excavate, search, and do this almost anthropological work. It will be a joy to connect with this community.