Ibrahim Ahmed's \"Does Anybody Leave Heaven?\"
Ibrahim Ahmed's "Does Anybody Leave Heaven?" (2019), courtesy of the artist.

ICA at VCU to present first solo exhibition by Cairo-based artist Ibrahim Ahmed

The exhibition kicks off with a special opening event July 23.

Share this story

The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University will present the first solo museum exhibition of work by Cairo-based artist Ibrahim Ahmed July 23 through Nov. 28.

“Ibrahim Ahmed: It Will Always Come Back to You” kicks off July 23 with an opening celebration from 6 to 10 p.m. The free event will feature performances by musician songwriter/producer Ezrakh; local DJ Graybeard, host of the “The Motherland Influence” airing Sundays on WRIR; and Nyugen Smith, a first-generation Caribbean American interdisciplinary artist based in New Jersey.

In his first U.S. exhibition, Ahmed takes viewers on a journey through the experiences and ideas that have defined his family’s migrations: the American dream, cultural dislocation, inherited notions of masculinity and the power that simple objects have to tell alternative stories.

“It Will Always Come Back to You” presents a thematic selection of work from 2013-20 in a variety of media, including primarily textile-based sculpture, painting and photo collage. The exhibition also features a new large sculpture commissioned by the ICA.  

Born in Kuwait, Ahmed spent his childhood between Bahrain and Egypt before moving to the United States at age 13. In 2014, he relocated to Cairo, where he currently lives. 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 colonization, structures of power, cultural interactions and fluid identity, generating discussion around ideas of the self and notions of authenticity with the parameters of the nation-state.

“Ibrahim Ahmed: It Will Always Come Back to You” is curated by ICA Executive Director Dominic Willsdon. The ICA returns to its regular operating hours on July 23: 

Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Closed Monday