Seattle’s Mariane Ibrahim Gallery Wins the Armory Show’s Inaugural ‘Presents’ Prize

The $10,000 prize covers the cost of the winner's booth.

Zohra Opoku, Pyracantha (2015). Courtesy Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.
Zohra Opoku, Pyracantha (2015). Courtesy Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.

Mariane Ibrahim Gallery has won the Armory Show’s inaugural Presents Booth Prize, and a $10,000 award, the fair announced on March 2. The prize was bestowed in recognition of the Seattle gallery’s solo presentation of work by German-Ghanaian artist Zohra Opoku.

“We are deeply humbled and honored to receive this prize,” Ibrahim said in a statement. She dedicated the win to Opoku, “whose commitment and excellence in her art practice has helped bring new narratives into an exciting global narrative.”

At the Armory, Opoku is showing photography- and fabric-based works that stitch together cloth that belonged to members of her family, who are now separated by geography. Originally from Somalia, Ibrahim has dedicated her gallery to showcasing African artists, particularly those working in different parts of the world.

Zora Opoku, Benjamin Genocchio, Mariane Ibrahim, and Andrea Danese, CEO of Athena Art Finance Corp. courtesy of Teddy Wolff/the Armory Show.

Zora Opoku, Benjamin Genocchio, Mariane Ibrahim, and Andrea Danese, CEO of Athena Art Finance Corp. Courtesy of Teddy Wolff/the Armory Show.

The Presents sector was created to promote young dealers—defined as being in business for less than 10 years—who display focused selections of one or two artists in their booths, and it has attracted an increasing number of applicants over the years. Armory Show executive director Benjamin Genocchio opted to accept more exhibitors for 2017 (30, up from 22 in 2016), and to charge each of them 40 percent less—under $10,000—to participate in order to support these smaller galleries. The new prize is a way to essentially allow one lucky dealer to show their work for free.

“The Armory Show has never offered a prize in its history,” Genocchio told artnet News in a phone conversation. He said the award is intended to underscore the fair’s commitment to “promoting young galleries and nurturing their growth.”

“If you look at both the way in which [Opoku’s] work is hung, as well as the social cultural resonance of the work, the booth stands out,” he added, lauding the “very strong transnational quality” of Ibrahim’s gallery program. “She just put on an outstanding presentation.”

Mariane Ibrahim Gallery's booth, “Unraveled Threads,” featuring the work of Zohra Opoku, winner of the Armory Show's inaugural Presents Booth Prize. Courtesy of Teddy Wolff/the Armory Show.

Mariane Ibrahim Gallery’s booth, “Unraveled Threads,” featuring the work of Zohra Opoku, winner of the Armory Show’s inaugural Presents Booth Prize. Courtesy of Teddy Wolff/the Armory Show.

Ibrahim’s booth was selected as the winner by jury members Massimiliano Gioni, the artistic director of New York’s New Museum; Ruba Katrib, curator at the SculptureCenter in Long Island City; and art collectors Renee Drake (the Netherlands), Alain Servais (Brussels), and Carole Server (New York). The award was presented by the fair with the support of the Athena Art Finance Corp.


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