Tahir Carl Karmali

Tahir is a young photographer and artist born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. Tahir's photography has richness and depth whether he is photographing landscapes or Kenyan's sex workers. He is interested in the human conditions and his works almost always focus on people and their experiences. Strangely a interest in physics has driven him to take a closer look at mankind and the experiences groups and individuals he has come in contact with go through. Having lived in Nairobi as well as New York he has stradled the divide between two worlds and leaves an impression of each in his work.

In his more recent works there is a running theme of identity, the Towel Head series is indicative of the pre-conceptions and judgements people place on individuals. The term Towel Head is a ethnic slur for a person of middle eastern descent which references the turban a headwear often worn by men from the middle eastern area. Through a simple prop Tahir plays with the ethnicity of his models leaving the viewer confused to their identity. The portraits expose how simple the divisions and connections between people are and how easily they can be changed and manipulated. The rich technical and historical feel of the photos only emphasises this manipulation giving a sense of truth and clout to the fabrication of the "false" portraits.

Tahir is currently living in Brookyn, NY while he works on his Masters and is already being courted by the international art scene with shows at the Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain and Vitra Design Museum, Germany.


Tahir Carl Karmali

Selected Exhibitions

2015 – "Jua Kali" as part of "Making Africa" at Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain

2015 – "Jua Kali" as part of "Making Africa" at Vitra Design Museum, Weil Am Rhein, Germany

2014 – "Untitled" – Art Cabinet, Nairobi, Kenya

2014 – "Jua Kali" – Kuona Trust Arts Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

2014 – Group exhibition at International School of Kenya

2014 – "Value" – Kuona Trust Arts Centre, Nairobi, Kenya


2015 – International Contemporary African Photography awards: POPCAP' 2015


Amid Rapid Urbanization, African Designers Emerge Front and Center – Interview for "Making Afrika": Vorreiter der zweiten Moderne – Dadische Zeitung

The Arts Hour – BBC Radio

Kenya: Timely Exhibition Features Male Sex Workers – The Star Newspaper, Kenya

Kenya: Fascinating Exhibition Pays Tribute to Jua Kali Artisans – The Star Newspaper, Kenya