Mariane Ibrahim presents J'ai Deux Amours..., the inaugural exhibition of the gallery’s new space in Paris on Avenue Matignon. On view from September 18 to October 13, 2021, the show marks the gallery's newfound physical duality with its presence in Chicago and in Paris and presents never before seen works by gallery-represented artists.
J'ai Deux Amours... is an anthem for love and connectivity, emphasizing diverse cultural backgrounds as being sacred, especially amidst the rise of cultural resistance and the effect of the recent health crisis. The impetus of the show “not only speaks to the multiplicity of culture and nationality, but the temporality of identities and the meanings they drag along,” reflects Shannon T. Lewis.
The title pays homage to Josephine Baker's iconic song "J'ai deux amours”, (“...mon pays et Paris.") ("I have two loves: my country and Paris.") and echoes the gallery's vision while celebrating the represented artists, each from multiple cultures and countries.
We are living in a world where notions of individuality and territory are so ubiquitous. Beyond one's culture, our identities are comprised of socially constructed ideologies, biases and values. They are made up of one's interests and in turn, give a sense of purpose. Seemingly, our borders are so constrained and finite, and more than ever we are called to declare who we are and what we stand for.
Baker famously said, “France made me what I am. The Parisians gave me their hearts, and I am ready to give them my life.” After the war, she slightly changed the lyrics to "J'ai Deux Amours, Mon pays c'est Paris," (My country is Paris) forever cementing Paris and France as her two loves, and she would sing "J'ai deux amours" at every performance she gave for the rest of her life.
The song references exile, the places we long for and feel intrinsically connected with. It references home, the homes we are born to and the ones we find or build along the way. Finally, it references our distinctly human right to create for ourselves an identity that, however multi-faceted, is wholly ours.
Clotilde Jiménez shares, “From America to Paris, being ‘the custodian of a Black body,’ as James Baldwin once said, I feel spiritually connected. So, let me say this as we open a new chapter in Paris; j’ai deux amours; l’Afrique et sa diaspora (“I have two loves; Africa and its diaspora”). It is this moment of identification that becomes a guide for me.”