Karem Ibrahim

Taking his own observations and experiences as an Egyptian living in Britain as his starting point, Karem Ibrahim’s work explores value, in both its theoretical and tangible meanings. The artist is interested in the way objects are seen and used, how fashions are followed, and how goods are viewed, priced, consumed, and discarded. His work also touches on the relationship between the work and the viewer, engulfment, alienation, and dislocation within a specific context.

He was stimulated to create the installation entitled Randomly Selected for ISOE by issues of great relevance to the Middle East, such as inclusion and exclusion, borders and crossings, authority and bureaucracy, the dynamics of unequal power, arbitrariness and coercion, resistance to power, uneasiness, entrapment, tightness and comfort, the availability of space, see-through walls, and the world of the in-between.

“Randomly Selected is a term I came and come across often whenever I am traveling in Europe and am singled out of the queues at points of departure and arrival at airports. I am always randomly selected for further checks and verification of the purpose of my travel, going and coming. Although I now travel on a British passport, that has not absolved me of the fact that I have some racial characteristics that place me in a group that port authorities in many European border situations usually profile and look upon and treat as suspicious.”
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Randomly Selected, Installation Mixed media+Performance, 2013, Installationview Photo by (c) Mike Terry


Karem Ibrahim is an Egyptian artist born in Cairo in 1969. He studied at Cairo Art Academy, UEL and the Slade School of Art (UCL) in London. He is affiliated with Critical Practice, a cluster of individual artists, researchers, academics and others, supported by Chelsea College of Art & Design, London, and is also a member of the politically engaged Implicated Theatre Group based at the Centre for Possible Studies. Ibrahim works in a variety of media and has participated in national and international exhibition projects and events.