• Conversations on Practice: Ibrahim Ismail

Kuwaiti artist Ibrahim Ismail discusses his career with UAE-columnist and researcher Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi as part of the Jameel’s ‘Conversations on Practice’ series of artist-led presentations. This is part of an ongoing collaboration with Barjeel Art Foundation. This talk will be conducted in Arabic only without translation.

One of Kuwait’s most notable artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, Ibrahim Ismail is best known for his versatility, and experimental approach towards art making. By depicting old marketplaces, street corners and shops in his paintings, Ismail meanders among public and private spaces and the people occupying them. In addition to themes that convey aspects of Kuwaiti heritage, Ismail has produced work that deals more explicitly with political events, including overtly patriotic renderings of emblems of the state.

After graduating from Kuwait’s Teachers Institute in 1968, Ismail attended the Higher Institute of Theatre Arts. He was a member of the Kuwaiti Society for Developing Artists and represented the country at the first Arab Biennial held in Baghdad in 1974. As part of the Jameel’s ‘Conversations on Practice’ series of artist-led presentations, Ibrahim Ismail is invited to discuss his practice by the eminent patron and commentator, Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, founder of Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, and a lecturer at Yale University, USA.

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi is a United Arab Emirates-based columnist and researcher on social, political and cultural affairs in the Arab Gulf States. In 2018 Sultan ranked 19th on the “Arabic Thought Leader Index” by Swiss think tank Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute. Sultan was an MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow from 2014-2016, and in the spring of 2017 he was a practitioner in residence at the Hagop Kevorkian Center of Near East Studies at New York University, where he offered a special course on Politics of Middle Eastern Art. Sultan is currently conducting research for a book that documents the modern architecture of the city of Sharjah in the UAE. In 2010 Sultan established the Barjeel Art Foundation that aims to contribute to the intellectual development of the art scene in the Arab region by building an extensive and publicly accessible art collection. In 2018, 100 works from the collection were hosted on a long-term basis at the Sharjah Art Museum.