Tahir Karmali, b. 1987
Tahir Karmali (born 1987) is a visual artist who pairs materials and portraiture to define personal narratives through the mixed mediums of photography, paper making, and installation. His expression describes economic and political accounts and pronounces them with a single material or object. Karmali’s interest in outlier communities whose identities are shaped by economic, political and social systems are transcribed into narratives describing the wide-ranging reality of the human experience. The materials he uses are dictated by the perception and value of an object in the narrative; whether it is a valued item through the eyes of a male sex worker in Nairobi or a plastic veiled apartment of a New York immigrant.
Currently, Karmali is combining digital photography and portraiture with papermaking. This allows him to deal directly with the material to craft concepts around the process and abstract how the portrait is presented. He is using this method to discuss nationality, authenticity, documentation, and borders for migrant populations in Africa. In this work takes his own Indian-Kenyan heritage to discuss colonial migrant narratives.