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Ibi Ibrahim, the Yemeni artist in partnership with Balmain

American-born writer, filmmaker, musician and artist Ibi Ibrahim has always been inspired by his Yemeni heritage to create his works. Balmain brand director Olivier Rousteing recognized his creativity and chose him to create the images for the fashion brand's 2022 collection.

Ibi Ibrahim is a complete artist. Often inspired by his immediate environment, his work reflects an artistic practice that has steadily evolved to reflect his personal experiences and life stages over the past decade. His early work addresses issues of sexuality, gender and tradition across the Middle East, including his native Yemen.


A shared history with the designer

Olivier Rousteing noticed Ibi Ibrahim’s originality during an exhibition at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, as part of the Divas in 2021 exhibition. The two men share a common background, or in other words, a common heartstrings, which originates in the fact that Rousteing was adopted at birth. The search for his identity between his French adoptive family and his biological African roots has marked his artistic projects. Ibrahim, on the other hand, feels that his identity has been shaped by his Arab heritage. Although born in the United States, the photographer grew up in Yemen, the Emirates, Iraq and Libya before returning to America and traveling to Europe, particularly Berlin.

“There is another home that lives within us. It’s where our stories are born, and where our dreams often travel.”
Ibi Ibrahim.

Maryam is model of the new collection who comes from Iraq.

“My friend in Balmain”

Ibi Ibrahim’s series of photographs features his own Arab-American friends from nations whose art and culture are often put on the back burner because they are associated with turmoil. The idea was to capture a mixed heritage, twice as rich in culture.

Maryam represents Iraq, Lylla is Syrian and Lebanese, Jenna is from Palestine, and Hadi, Anisa and Mohammed are also from Yemen. The models are staged in sober settings, in a black and white style. They are dressed in oversized kaftans made of noble materials and adorned with sequins, bohemian and freedom-seeking looks that honor their rich origins.

Lylla is Syrian-Lebanese.

“I consider it a privilege to be Yemeni.

Throughout his work, Ibrahim addresses the notion of migration and dispossession. Ibrahim considers it his responsibility to represent and promote all sides of Yemen. His work is an awakening of consciousness for those who are exposed to it. Engaged on all continents, Ibrahim founded Romooz Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the recognition of arts and literature in Yemen.