Two large, brightly colored cloth sculptures hang like giant rugs. The only thing that distinguishes it from what would be a finely woven rug is that the different textiles are sewn together and supported by structures, like sails. These artworks by Cairo-based Ibrahim Ahmed are some of the key features in his first solo show at the American Museum He Will Always Come Back to You at Virginia Commonwealth University's (VCU) Institute of Contemporary Art. The exhibition presents a thematic collection of Ahmed's work from 2013 to 2020, produced using a variety of media, including textile-based sculpture, painting, and collage to explore issues related to migration, colonialism, and the Global South - regions outside Europe and the North. America that has historically been marginalized politically and culturally.
Born in Kuwait in 1984 and of Egyptian heritage, Ahmed spent his childhood between Bahrain and Egypt, before moving to the US with his family at the age of 13. In 2014, he moved back to Cairo, where he currently lives and works in the informal working-class neighborhood of Ard El Lewa.