Ibrahim Ahmed — Artist

quickly but carefully cross to the other side 2020/2021

‘quickly but carefully cross to the other side’, is a body of work that is a provocation to reconsider mindsets about masculinity. Using family photography archives, I examine the ways that history has positioned me to embody society’s ‘real man’ discourse. Through research and production I ask: What narrative do societies create about men, and what does this imply? What systems of power are being (un)consciously perpetuated through the ‘real man’ discourse? What are its effects on the personal and intimate spaces we exist in? Not only in relation to others, but what its effects are internally for individuals upholding these constructs? How has my personal history positioned me to embody these discourses, and how do I reconstruct my own masculinity? Having focused on the micro-political, I expanded the scope outward for this project. My research directed my focus towards my father’s photographs as historical documents, spanning 50 years. The majority of the images are taken by him, allowing me access to view the world through his lens. These images feature cars, national monuments, military processions & museums. Mapping my father’s trajectory from farm boy in the North Delta, to banker in the US, Kuwait, and Bahrain (with many business trips throughout the north and south), embodying Nasser Era politics, to gaining ‘citizenship’ in the US; the body and person become a symbol of a complex terrain that places masculinity within several geographies and social strata, blurring the lines of specificity. Using techniques involving editing, layering, cutting, and weaving enlarged copies of the original pictures, I collage these images to map out masculinities in an attempt to clarify the landscape. An experiment at processing and mining the past to rethink masculinity’s positioning in a contemporary world.

figure #2 - 43x38cm - unique photocollage piece - 2020

figure #3 - 46.4x45.8 - unique photocollage piece - 2020

figure #4 - 44.9x45.8cm - unique photocollage piece - 2020

figure #7 - 54.4x50.3cm - unique photocollage piece - 2020 (sold)

figure #11 - 72x61.3cm - unique photocollage piece - 2020

figure #12 - 30.1x42cm - unique photocollage piece - 2021

figure #13 - 48x40cm - unique photocollage piece - 2021