Tahir Carl Karmali

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Tahir Carl Karmali (b. 1987) born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya - Brooklyn, NY based visual artist began his practice as a painter and sculptor.

Karmali’s interest in photography started while traveling through East Africa and South East Asia - later received his Masters in Photography at SVA. His attention to material and process is integral to how he communicates narratives centered around global environmental, political, and socioeconomic factors.

Karmali has exhibited in Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; Kunsthal, Rotterdam; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Rachel Uffner Gallery, New York; Pioneer Works, Brooklyn; Brooklyn College Library, Brooklyn; United Photo Industries, Brooklyn; and Circle Art, Nairobi.

What was your latest book discovery? What are your favorite books of all time?

The last book I read was The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. I usually read essays and articles, but my favorite books are:
House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
The McMaster Catalog
Earth Matters by Karen E. Milbourne
The River Between by Ngugi Wa Thiong'o
The Stranger by Albert Camus

Most visited blogs, websites?

The White Pube
New York Foundation for the Arts, Opportunities Listings
Jamie Oliver
New York Times Cooking

What apps do you use the most and why?

Instagram - because that's how I stay up to date with things
Yelp - because I like going to cheap restaurants
WhatsApp - Keep in contact with friends
2 Dots - cause games for the subway

Whats currently on your playlist?

Let My Key Be by Anne Müller & Nils Frahm
Out of the Frame by Lorn
The Sky Was Pink (Icelandic Version) by Nathan Fake
Made of Steel. Made of Stone by The Field
Natural Selection by Willaris. K
All Melody by Nils Frahm
Emerald Rush by Jon Hopkins
Insomnia (Monster Mix) by Faithless
"Monument" by Röyksopp & Robyn
Ever Again by Robyn

What records would you recommend to hear?

The Wilderness by Explosions in the Sky
Alchemy by Willaris K.
All Melody by Nils Frahm
Singularity by Jon Hopkins
Rave Tapes by Mogwai

Fresh movie finds? What films do you think everybody should watch?

Holy Mountain (Alejandro Jodorowsky)
Sorry to Bother You
Eva Hesse Documentary
Requiem for a Dream
Kung Fu Panda 2
Trouble Makers
We Come As Friends
Stories of our Lives (Jim Chuchu/The Nest)

Which artists working today do you admire most?

Lucia Hierro
Sanford Biggers
Kenya (Robinson)
Jackie Karuti
Ibrahim Mahama
El Anatsui
Yeni Mao
Allison Janae Hamilton
Mona Hatoum
Teresa Margolles
Agnes Denes

What are some of your tv top tips right now?

Legion on FX
Strangers With Candy
Summer Camp Island
The Act

Who are you following?


What tools do you use in your work?

Ableton, Photoshop, Lightroom, cobalt, cellphone batteries, dye baths, deckle and mold, paint brushes, rollers, drills, hammer, water, paper pulp, copper, it just goes on!

What magazines / newspapers do you read regularly?


What are your favorite gadgets?

My headphones (audio technica) and iPod shuffle.


Tahir Carl Karmali

Tahir’s Instagram


© All photos: Tahir Carl Karmali

© Portrait: Nan Goldin