In its small space on 2nd Avenue, a block from the Seattle Art Museum, M.I.A Gallery has become an essential hub for art patrons and lovers through its devotion to showing international contemporary artists—often from countries whose voices are otherwise unrepresented locally—including Negar Farajiani, Kimiko Yoshida, and Fabrice Monteiro. The gallery’s name derives from the initials of founder Mariane Ibrahim-Abdi (now Mariane Ibrahim-Lenhardt née Abdi), whose curatorial and advisory work is constantly taking her from Seattle to the east coast, to Africa, to Europe, to Asia and back.
Ibrahim-Lenhardt’s mission remains the same, but some details are changing, and it is quite exciting for the community. The gallery is moving down the street, closer to Pioneer Square, and adjacent to James Harris gallery. This will bring close the distance to the city’s largest concentration of commercial galleries, while still on the path to SAM and other downtown galleries such as Abmeyer + Wood, William Traver Gallery and Lisa Harris Gallery. More importantly, the move will allow Ibrahim-Lenhardt to show larger scale work that did not physically fit into the previous location. When it reopens at the beginning of spring as Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, the space will host a solo exhibition of Italian/Senegalese artist Maimouna Guerresi, whose work includes large scale photos, short film and suspended figurative sculpture.
Mariane Ibrahim Gallery will also be taking part in VOLTA art fair during Armory Week in NYC, so if you are on the east coast at the beginning of March, you might be able to spot work from Gueresi or some of the gallery’s other represented artists.
When I spoke to her last week about the name change, Ibrahim-Lenhardt stated coyly that, in a way, she was actually shortening the gallery name by removing the initial, keeping it to two names instead of three. Because she has an international presence, the change is not made lightly and some may caution against confusion, but if people have not yet made the connection between M.I.A and the eponymous founder herself, then it is about time they did…and now will be that time.
Ibrahim-Lenhardt is definitely one to watch. You can learn more about her and her mission in the profile I did of her in Ledger. Read it online.