Tahir Karmali Nairobi, Kenya, b. 1987

"I am an investigator of materials and vernacular design. Focusing on their underlying source – as currency, as markers of cultural identity, or as exploitable artifact - I am interested in transforming these materials into varying formats that are deceptive, as an art form, allowing the viewer to savour them as primary material before a layer of trauma slowly reveals itself." 

– Tahir Karmali


2015 Masters in Digital Photography from School of Visual Arts, New York, NY, US

2009 BBA Marketing and Communications, Les Roches, CH



2020 UNTITLED, ART, Bode Projects, San Francisco, CA, US

2019 Fibers of Being, Bode Projects, Hamburg, DE

  Tahir Carl Karmali: PAPERwork, Strongroom, Newburgh, NY,


2018 Paper Planes, Sotheby's Institute, New York, NY, US 

2017 PAPER:work, Pioneer Works, New York, NY, US

2016 Value, Brooklyn College Library, New York, NY, US

  Jua Kali, United Photo Industries, New York, NY, US

2014 Untitled, Art Cabinet, Nairobi, KE

 Jua Kali, Kuona Trust Arts Centre, Nairobi, KE

 Value, Kuona Trust Arts Centre, Nairobi, KE



2020 “Second Careers”, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH,


2019 No More Water, The Old Stone House, New York, NY, US

  OPEN CALL, The Shed, New York, NY, US

2018 PRIZM art fair, Alaina Simone Inc, Miami, FL, US

  Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design, Blanton

Museum, Austin, TX, US

  Tracing Obsolescence, Apex Art, New York, NY, US 

  CODE Art Fair, Bode Projects, Copenhagen, DK 

  Factors of Production, Rachel Uffner, New York, NY, US 

  Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design,

Albuquerque M., Albuquerque, NM, US

  New Threads, Circle Art Agency, Nairobi, KE 

  Immigrant Artists and the American West, Tacoma Art

Museum, WA, US

2017 UPROOT Smack Melon, New York, NY, US

  Sea of Trace, 505 Johnson Studios, New York, NY, US

  How We Come and How We Go, Trestle Projects, New York,


  PAPER:work & Jua Kali, 1:54, London, UK 

  Making Africa, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, US

  Brassage Photographique, Villers-la-Ville, BE 

  My Collection, MoCADA, New York, NY, US 

  Biennial Fotografica Bogota 2017, Bogota, CO 

  PAPER:work, Art Africa Fair, Cape Town, ZA 

  Figure 8, Foley Gallery, New York, NY, US

2016 In Dialog II - Photobastei, Zurich, CH 

  Addis Foto Festival, Addis Ababa, ET 

  Jua Kali as part of "Making Africa", Kunsthal Rotterdam, NL 

  Tumia part of Frontiers of The Present Exhibition, Circle Art

Agency, Nairobi, KE 

  Jua Kali, Africa Reframed, Copenhagen, DK 

  Tumia, Afreaka Festival, Galeria Olida, São Paulo, BR 

  Jua Kali as part of "Making Africa", CCCB, Barcelona, ES 

2015 Displaced as part of "FUSE", SVA Gallery, New York, NY, US 

  Jua Kali as part of "Making Africa", Guggenheim, Bilbao, ES 

  Jua Kali, OBSCURA Festival, George Town, MY

  Jua Kali, Rencontres Internationales de la Photo de Fès, Fès,


  Jua Kali, LagosPhoto Festival, Lagos, NG 

  Jua Kali, IFCV Festival International de Fotografia, Mindelo,


  Jua Kali, "Image Afrique '15", ArtBasel, Theaterplatz, Basel,


  Jua Kali in Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie,

Ghar el Melh, TN 

  Jua Kali, "Edition POPCAP", Artificial Image, Berlin, DE 

  Jua Kali as part of "Making Africa", Vitra Design Museum,

Weil Am Rhein, DE



2020 Watermill Center Artist Residency

  BRICLab Performing Arts Residency

  Lower East Side Printshop Key Holder Residency

2019 THE SHED Open Call Commission

2018 Triangle Artist Residency

2017 Pioneer Works Visual Artist Residency

  Trestle Gallery Visiting Visual Artist Residency

2016 MacDowell Visual Artist Residency

  BRIC visual artist in residency



2019 Pollock-Krasner Grant

2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 Arts & Style

2015 IPA – International Photography Awards – Honorable Mention

Professional Fine Art College

  International Contemporary African Photography awards 

  POPCAP’ 2015

  Candidate at The New York Times Portfolio Review

  Editor’s Choice Selection for GuatePhoto

2014 Kuona Trust Conceptual Exhibit Grant for “Jua Kali”

  Kuona Trust Conceptual Exhibit Grant for “Value”