Tahir Carl Karmali : First solo show in Germany
Working across multiple mediums, materials, and photography, Brooklyn-based artist Tahir Carl Karmali’s interests lie in manipulating materials that perpetuate colonialism. His first solo exhibition under the title “Fibers of Being“ will be opened on February 07th at 7pm at Wexstraße 28, 20355 Hamburg at LKB/G Gallery. The show runs from February 08th until the March 09th.
The title “Fibers of Being” refers to both the material used and ideas of existence in the narratives explored in his work. Karmali’s interest in migration and socioeconomics spearheads his practice and expressed through his process and selection of materials. This exhibition presents selected works from two bodies of work by the artist and accompanied by an essay by Jesse Firestone published in the catalog of the show.
In PAPERwork Karmali tackles the complexities of nationality, authenticity, documentation, and borders created in Africa by looking at the migrant population in East Africa. Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, the artist looks back at his familial immigration documents during colonialism and his current immigration documents to discuss borders and control through the material.
By breaking down these paper documents, pulping it, and creating new sheets of paper he questions the presence of paper as a validator for movement across the globe. He sees the filtration process involved in making the paper as a metaphor for crossing borders. The sheets are abstracted, some containing images and text, some have valleys and ridges to emulate landscapes.
This reference to landscape is also seen in Karmali’s STRATA series where he investigates the use of land and treatment of people. Made from Raffia, a traditional woven palm tree fiber textile from the Democratic Republic of Congo, these works show dark rifts made by dying the fabric with cobalt and lithium from cellphone batteries. It is a direct reference to the oppressive mining practices in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This relationship is further explored in the writing by Jesse Firestone.